Plant Health EU Exit Guidance

last updated:  4/9/19 

Importing and exporting plants and plant products if there’s a no deal Brexit

The following guidance is for the import and export of plants and plant products if there is no withdrawal deal between the UK and the EU. 

  1. Importing plants and plant products from the EU
  2. Importing plants and plant products from third countries via the EU
  3. Exporting plants and plant products to the EU
  4. Moving controlled plants and plant products within the UK
  5. Exporting forest reproductive material in the event of a no deal
  6. Plant passports and pest free areas
  7. Changes to Protected Zones if the UK leaves the EU without a deal
  8. How to find your relevant UK Plant Health Authority
     

1.   IMPORTING PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS FROM THE EU 

The majority of plants and plant products (including fruit, vegetables and cut flowers) imported from the EU will continue to enter the UK freely.
 
After the UK leaves the EU, any plants and plant products currently managed under the EU plant passport scheme will be subject to UK import controls and become ‘regulated commodities’.  This replaces the EU plant passport’s assurance and traceability, and maintains biosecurity. Those products that currently require a plant passport from the EU will require a phytosanitary certificate, you can find a list of these plants and plant products on the [APHA website].  
 
If you wish to import plants or plant products currently managed under the EU plant passport scheme, you’ll need to:

  • check with the relevant UK plant health authority to find out if consignments need a phytosanitary certificate (PC) or read the No Deal Import Requirements
  • register as an importer in the territory of the UK where your EU plants or plant products first enter the UK (not the territory of destination). You can register by contacting the Scottish Government Horticulture and Marketing Unit by email - hort.marketing@gov.scot
  • make sure any regulated commodities enter the UK with a phytosanitary certificate (PC) issued in the country of export (or re-export); 
  • provide pre-arrival notification by contacting the SG Horticulture and Marketing Unit by email - hort.marketing@gov.scot  for landings at Scottish ports or notifying APHA via the PEACH system for landings in England and Wales.  Uploaded scanned copies of your Phytosanitary Certificates and other related documents (for example the bill of landing, cargo movement request, or delivery company invoice) should be sent to the relevant UK plant health authority; and
  • supply the original copy of the PC by post within 3 days of your consignment arriving in the UK to the relevant UK plant health authority.   Plants and plant products originating in the EU will not be stopped at the border.  PCs and relevant ID documents will receive a remote check in the territory of first landing in the UK and will not require the goods to be stopped inland. The remote checks will be charged by the relevant plant health authority. The plants or plant products will then be free to move to the import destination. Any further movement within the UK would require a UK plant passport.  

Plant health inspectors will continue to carry out follow-up surveillance and inspections inland in line with current policies. The Scottish Government does not charge for such inspections. 
 
Notice periods for imports originating in the EU that require a phytosanitary certificate
 
You must notify the relevant plant health authority of a consignment’s arrival into the UK from the EU. There is no set notice period - you can give notice at any time up to the point that the consignment enters the UK.

2.   IMPORTING PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS FROM THIRD COUNTRIES VIA THE EU

See [flowchart]
 
In a no deal scenario, the EU would no longer be obliged to carry out plant health checks on regulated third country goods going to the UK. 
 
Plants and plant products that come from third countries via the EU without plant health checks by an EU member state will be treated as third-country imports.
 
Many plants and plant products entering the UK via the EU arrive at fast-moving rollon roll-off (RoRo) ports where checks at the border would create significant disruptions to traffic. All third-country plant health controlled material arriving in the UK via RoRo ports requiring checks will have to go to a plant health approved facility for inspection. 
 
These facilities include:

  • Place of First Arrival (PoFA) SG Guidance - trade premises that have been authorised to host plant health controls on third country material entering the UK via the EU at RoRo ports; and 
  • other facilities that have been authorised for Plant Health control (‘alternative inspection posts’).

 
You must ensure that plant health checks are carried out on third-country material entering the UK via the EU by doing one of the following:

  • registering a place of first arrival (PoFA). Find more information on registering in the PoFA manual;
  • using a non-RoRo point of entry where checks can take place at the border; and
  • using an  ‘alternative inspection post’

How to register as a place of first arrival
 
You may need to speak to suppliers about whether the plants and plant products they import from third countries are likely to move to the UK via the EU. Consider whether to apply for PoFA status before EU exit day.
 
To import third-country material that need plant health checks in the UK via RoRo ports, you’ll need to have access to a PoFA. You can register your own PoFA by: 

  • reading the PoFA standards and take any necessary steps to ensure your premises meet the requirements; and 
  • applying to be authorised by the relevant plant health authority - you’ll need to complete the relevant PoFA form for plant and plant products - see the PoFA manual.

To bring in material for checks at an authorised PoFA, you will need to:

  • read the PoFA standards and take any necessary steps to ensure your premises meet the requirements; 
  • apply to be authorised by the relevant plant health authority. You’ll need to complete the relevant PoFA form;
  • for goods that are entering the UK via a RoRo port in Scotland or Northern Ireland, give notice to the relevant plant health authority; 
  • for goods that are entering the UK via a RoRo port in England or Wales, give notice of a consignment’s arrival and its location to the plant health authority using the PEACH website; and
  • hold consignments at your premises until the plant health authority has carried out its checks and released the goods.

Notice periods for imports from third countries via the EU
 
You must give notice each time you bring a consignment of regulated goods to the UK from third countries for:

  • Scotland: consignments being brought in by any route - 2 working days
  • England and Wales: consignments brought in by air - 4 working hours, and consignment being brought in by another route - 3 working days

3.   EXPORTING PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS TO THE EU

See [flowchart]. 
 
In a no deal scenario, the UK will become a third country and will need to meet EU third country import requirements to export regulated plants and plant products to the EU.

For exports to the EU third-country rules will apply on all:

The process for sending regulated plants and plant products to the EU will be the same as the current process for sending them to third countries. When you export controlled plants and plant products to third countries, you need to:

  • check whether a phytosanitary certificate (PC) is required by contacting the plant health authority or a plant health inspector in the destination country;
  • apply for a PC from the relevant UK plant health authority before export; and 
  • check if your plants require laboratory testing of samples to ensure they are free from pests and diseases or inspections during the growing season. Contact your local plant health inspector to find out if your plants need these tests before exporting.

Controlled plant and plant products exports to the EU from the UK may be subject to checks at the EU border.
 
If you require more information about export requirements or wish to apply for a PC, contact the Horticulture and Marketing Unit by email at hort.marketing@gov.scot.  

4.   MOVING CONTROLLED PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS WITHIN THE UK

Plants and plant products currently covered by EU plant passports for movements within the UK will need to be moved with a UK plant passport.
 
When moving controlled plants in the UK, you’ll need to:

  • register with the relevant UK plant health authority.
  • be authorised to issue plant passports.
  • replace references to ‘EU’ with ‘UK’ when issuing plant passports.

5.   EXPORTING FOREST REPRODUCTIVE MATERIAL IN THE EVENT OF A NO DEAL EU EXIT

To see if this applies to you please use our [flowchart].

6.   PLANT PASSPORTS AND PEST FREE AREAS

Some plants and plant products must meet specific requirements to enter ‘protected zones’ within EU countries.

EU Protected Zones (PZs) allow EU member states to place controls on imports and movements between member states. This prevents the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases which are present elsewhere in the EU but absent from the Protected Zone.

7.   CHANGES TO PROTECTED ZONES IF THE UK LEAVES THE EU WITHOUT A DEAL

The UK cannot designate all or parts of the UK as an EU Protected Zones if there’s a no deal Brexit.

The UK will replace the biosecurity protections provided by EU Protected Zones by creating 2 new designations.

Quarantine pest designation

This will designate the existing plant pests and diseases covered by Protected Zone arrangements as ‘quarantine pests’. Quarantine pests are plant pests and diseases which are not established and which would be damaging if introduced, where they are absent from the whole of the UK.

Quarantine pests are prohibited from entering the UK and are subject to statutory control if found on plants or plants products. The requirements to prevent the entry of these pests will remain the same if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Pest Free Areas (PFAs) designations

This will designate PFAs in line with international standards for those pests and diseases which are absent from part of the UK, but not the whole of the UK. PFAs are declared in line with recognised international standards and requirements. They can be applied to movements of plants and plant products into PFAs.

Both EU PZs and PFAs allow countries to control movements of plants and plant products which may carry plant pests and diseases, where the whole country or an area within the country are free from those pests or diseases. Moving from PZs to quarantine pests and PFAs will not change the requirements for goods moving within the UK.

There will be no new import or movement restrictions from the replacement of certain PZs with requirements for quarantine pests. These requirements are already in place now under the PZ system. The requirements for importing into and moving within PFAs will be the same as they currently are for the equivalent PZs.

If you are moving plants and plant products into or within UK PZs currently, you need to use an EU plant passport. You will need to use a UK plant passport if you’re moving the relevant plants and plant products into or within UK PFAs if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

How to move goods into or within a UK Pest Free Area if there’s a no deal Brexit

Plants and plant products currently covered by EU plant passports for movements within the UK will need to be moved with a UK plant passport. When moving controlled plants in the UK, you’ll need to:

  • register with the relevant UK plant health authority;
  • be authorised to issue plant passports; and
  • replace references to ‘EU’ with ‘UK’ when issuing plant passports.

If you are an existing user of EU plant passports, you do not need to reissue a UK passport but you will need to change the title of your passport from ‘EU’ to ‘UK’.

If you’re providing a UK plant passport to move restricted plants into a UK PFA, you must include ‘PFA’ on the passport, rather than ‘ZP’ followed by the code for that PFA. Codes for PFAs will be the same as the codes for the PZs that they are replacing. For example, the code for ‘Ips Cembrae’ is (a)9.

Find details on Pest Free Areas and what plants must have passports if there’s a no deal Brexit.

Read Issuing plant passports to trade plants in the EU to understand how to apply for a UK plant passport.

8.   HOW TO FIND YOUR RELEVANT UK PLANT HEALTH AUTHORITY

Contact the following for plants and plant products landing into or exported from:

  • Scotland:  Scottish Government’s Horticulture and Marketing Unit  
  • England & Wales:  Register and apply on PEACH for imports and eDomero system for exports
  • Northern Ireland:  DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch