Plant Health Regulation
Plant Health elements of the Official Controls and Plant Health Regulations - GUIDANCE
The Official Controls Regulation (OCR) and Plant Health Regulation (PHR) became applicable in the UK from 14 December 2019 and are part of the Smarter Rules for Safer Food (SRSF) package. Although we are no longer a member of the EU, we are in a transition period where all EU laws will continue to apply.
What is Smarter Rules for Safer Food?
The Smarter Rules for Safer Food (SRSF) package is a set of EU regulations for the protection against animal disease and plant pests. The package will modernise, simplify and improve existing health and safety standards for the agri-food chain. It will take a risk-based approach to animal, plant and public health protection, introducing more efficient pest and disease control measures.
The package includes 3 principal EU regulations:
- Official Controls Regulation (EU) 2017/625: how controls across the agri-food chain will be monitored and enforced – became applicable in the UK from 14 December 2019
- Plant Health Regulation (EU) 2016/2031: controls for protecting plants from pests and diseases – became applicable in the UK from 14 December 2019
- Animal Health Regulation (EU) 2016/429: a framework for the principles of European animal health – will be applicable in the UK from 21 April 2021
The 3 principal EU regulations are supported by EU negotiated tertiary legislation that adds the detail to the legislation. The technical detail in the tertiary legislation can be updated quickly in response to changing situations and new technology. The Scottish Government has been working with Defra, the devolved administrations, the European Commission and other EU member states on the content of the tertiary legislation.
In order to ensure a co-ordinated approach to regulatory implementation is made across the UK, the Scottish Government and UK Government are working closely with delivery bodies, the devolved administrations and crown dependencies to ensure any new rules protect the UK’s biosecurity without putting any unnecessary burden on industry.
Plant Health Regulation
The Plant Health Regulation (PHR) became applicable in the UK from 14 December 2019 alongside the Official Controls Regulation.
The PHR helps the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors remain sustainable and competitive, as well as protecting domestic biodiversity and ecosystems. Globalised trade and climate change now present a greater risk to these sectors. The new PHR sets out controls and restrictions that will apply to imports and internal movement of certain plants, plant pests, and other materials like soil, to help reduce these risks.
Some of the areas changing include:
- The use of plant passports is being extended to cover all plants for planting and the format of the plant passport label is changing. New requirements for authorisation will also be introduced.
- More goods being imported into the EU will require a phytosanitary certificate.
- New requirements for the registration of professional operators.
- Strengthened measures for protected zones.
- New requirements applying to high risk plants and regulated non-quarantine pests (RNQPs).
- A more precautionary approach to new trade flows and a commitment to undertake thorough pest risk assessments.
- A new category of priority pests will be introduced, including annual surveying requirements and outbreak contingency planning.
Please see the plant passporting guidance page for more details.