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Question and Answer Guide

EXTERNAL PLANT AND FORESTRY Q&A

This Q&A was published on 18/11/2020

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/importing-and-exporting-plants-and-plant-products-from-1-january-2021

Contents

PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS Q&A 

GENERAL PLANT HEALTH

EXPORTS OF PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS 

EXPORT PROCESS EU>GB POST-TRANSITION PERIOD

EXPORT PROCESS GB>NI/ROI POST-TRANSITION PERIOD

IMPORTS OF PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS 

IMPORT PROCESS EU>GB POST-TRANSITION PERIOD

PLACE OF DESTINATION, POINT OF ENTRY, PLACE OF FIRST ARRIVAL AND BORDER CONTROL POSTS

IMPORT PROCESS RoW>GB POST-TRANSITION PERIOD

MOVING GOODS WITHIN THE UK 

FEES AND CHARGES

NORTHERN IRELAND AND DEVOLVED ADMINISTRATIONS

FORESTRY AND WOODLANDS (INCLUDING WPM) Q&A 

FORESTRY AND WOODLANDS GENERAL INFORMATION

FORESTRY INCENTIVES 

FORESTRY AND TIMBER TRADE

WOOD PACKAGING MATERIAL

 

PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS Q&A

GENERAL PLANT HEALTH

Will you introduce plant quarantine as set out in the Tree Health Resilience Strategy?

We are planning to launch a formal consultation on this later this year.

Why are we importing the majority of our plant products? Is this not an opportunity for domestic growers and nurseries to grow more UK plants and trees?

The UK has a strong plant sector, producing goods for domestic consumption as well as for export across the world. We want to take opportunities after the Transition Period to support UK businesses, including domestic growers and nurseries, whilst improving UK biosecurity and ensuring that UK consumers continue to enjoy access to a wide range of products.

At the end of the Transition Period will there be less robust protection against pests and diseases?

Our plant health biosecurity arrangements will protect the environment and horticultural trade from pests and diseases, and we will continue to protect the nation’s plant health biosecurity after the end of the Transition Period. Our work to prepare for the end of the Transition Period will ensure that biosecurity standards will continue to be met and strengthened in ways that support trade and the smooth flow of goods while minimising new burdens on businesses.

What preparations have been made to ensure that plant health services are ready for the end of the Transition Period?

Our priorities for the end of the Transition Period are to maintain UK biosecurity; to keep trade as frictionless as possible; and to minimise new burdens on businesses. At the end of the Transition Period, services will be in place to deliver the required checks on exports to the EU, and to manage changes to requirements on EU imports.

Currently, there are no border controls on EU plants and plant products – but what about all the inspectors that you have recently hired and trained? At the end of the Transition Period, GB will be treated as a third country by the EU, and vice-versa. This means there will be an increased requirement to conduct plant health inspections of goods imported from the EU to GB and inspect and issue phytosanitary certificates for exports of goods to the EU. We want to ensure that businesses can continue to trade with the EU, and we have increased the number of plant health inspectors we employ in order to support this.

Will there be any sessions of information for traders from the UK and the EU in the coming months?

We are scheduling engagement sessions for stakeholders to discuss end of transition period implications. These are currently only for UK stakeholders.

Where can I find more information and guidance on IT systems?

If you are in importer and you have not yet registered for PEACH, find out more information on the registration process including how to open a PEACH account and support.

  •  You can register for a PEACH account here.
  •  You will need a Government Gateway account as part of your registration process, you can find further information on how to do this here.
  •  You can find user guidance here.
  • You will need a Government Gateway account as part of your registration process, you can find further information on how to do this here.
  • Support and guidance is available

If you are an exporter and you have not yet registered for eDomero, you can find further information on the registration process, including support on this process.

If you are an exporter and you do not currently submit an online notification, you should begin to do so where possible. Further information on the process can be found here

 

EXPORTS OF PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS

EXPORT PROCESS EU>GB POST-TRANSITION PERIOD

How can I continue to export plants and plant products to the EU after the end of the Transition Period?

GB will become a third country and will need to meet EU third country (I.e. non-EU country) import requirements to export regulated plants and plant products to the EU from 1 January 2021.

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

  •  all plants for planting;
  •  root and tubercle vegetables;
  •  most fruits;
  •  cut flowers;
  •  some seeds;
  •  leafy vegetables;
  •  wood packaging material; and
  •  used agricultural machinery

 

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

  • check whether a phytosanitary certificate (PC) is required by contacting the plant health authority in GB or a plant health inspector in the destination country;
  • apply for a PC from the relevant GB plant health authority before export;
  • 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 applying for a PC.

 

These services are subject to fees and charges.

Plant reproductive material may also be subject to seed certification requirements, unless the EU grant GB third country equivalence by 1 January 2021 you will not be able to market most seed into the EU. Please check with your local PHSI if you market certified seed or other propagating material.

Your consignment may be subject to checks at the EU border.

I need a growing season inspection to meet EU third country import requirements at the end of the transition period, but it is already too late. What can I do to facilitate the export on from January 2021?

You should contact your local plant health inspector, who will be able to advise you further. You may already have met EU requirements through regular plant passport inspections that were carried out by the local inspector on plants during their active growth.

Will we still have plant passporting?

A UK plant passporting system will still apply to the movement of plants and plant products which are currently passported for internal movement. Further guidance can be found on gov.uk or on the Post Transition Guidance page on the Plant Health Portal.

Plant passporting will no longer apply to movements to and from the EU, if a commodity is subject to EU third country controls at the end of the Transition Period, you will need to follow the current process used by businesses wishing to export controlled commodities to third countries (countries outside the European Union). Businesses importing plants and plant products from the EU that are currently managed under the EU plant passport regime together with certain other high-risk goods, will need to ensure that the goods enter GB with a phytosanitary certificate from January 2021. From April 2021, this requirement will extend to all regulated plants and plant products.

What documentation will be required for export applications?

Any documents that help an inspector to identify a consignment will be required, such as the commercial invoices containing commodity codes, and packing lists. Where applicable there may be the requirement to provide documents such as fumigation certificates as evidence to show consignments have been treated appropriately. Furthermore, although not applicable to EU trade, exporters may have to provide import permits that detail the requirements of the importing country.

What documentation will be required for goods that I'm exporting that are not of GB origin?

For goods that are not of GB origin and that you intend to export to the EU, the original or certified copy of the import phytosanitary certificates will be required by the plant health authorities in GB to ensure that the goods meet EU import requirements.

When importing goods into GB that you intend to export to another country, the accompanying PC will need to include a statement that meets both the GB import requirements and a statement covering the import requirements of the country you are exporting to. Note, this only applies where additional declarations are required in GB and/or the destination country.

As an example:

If apples are exported from a third country to GB and then exported to the EU. Then two statements would be required on the PC from the country of origin:

Statement required to meet GB legislation

“Malus in this consignment complies with point 97 (a) of The Plant Health (Phytosanitary Conditions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 in which in a country which, in accordance with the measures specified in ISPM4, is known to be free from Botryosphaeria kuwatsukai (Hara) G.Y. Sun and E. Tanaka,

Statement to meet EU legislation

“Malus in this consignment complies with point 64 (a) of EU legislation 2019/2072 in which the goods originate in a country as being free from Botyosphaeria kuwatsukai in accordance with the relevant International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures, provided that this freedom has been communicated in advance in writing to the Commission by the National Plant Protection Organisation of the third country concerned.

Note: there may be other special requirements that needs to be met for Malus.

Will I need a phytosanitary certificate if I’m travelling to the EU and I have plants in my personal baggage, car or van?

Yes, from the 1 January 2021 a phytosanitary certificate will be required for all regulated plants and plant products entering the EU. Upon arrival your goods may be subject to checks. For further information on what goods require a phytosanitary certificate please contact your local plant health inspector, visit gov.uk or contact the plant health services in the country you’re travelling to.

Will exporting to the EU cost me more?

At the end of the transition period, businesses exporting plant health regulated goods to the EU will need to use the same export services as they would for exporting to non-EU countries. Details of requirements and fees can be found on gov.uk. This guidance refers to exporting ‘outside of the EU’, but will apply to exporting to the EU from the end of the transition period.

Will I still need to pay for EU export services at the end of the Transition Period as EU import inspection fees are being delayed until 1 April 2021?

Plant Health services operate on a basis of full cost recovery. At the end of the transition period, export services for regulated plant products moving to the EU, will use the same processes as used for exports to other third countries. As there will be no change, the fees applicable for exports to third countries will apply for exports to the EU.

For goods imported from the EU, GB will be carrying out a phased implementation of import checks which will be aligned to the risks posed by different regulated commodities. Lower risk goods will receive a lower frequency of checks. As such, fees need to be adapted to ensure there is no over-recovery of costs. We will begin charging for import services, on goods arriving from the EU, from 1st April 2021. This will enable a more accurate calculation of the fees and will allow businesses and government to successfully implement the change.

How do I obtain a phytosanitary certificate for export to the EU?

You should contact your local plant health inspector to determine the plant health requirements for the goods that you are exporting. For regulated plants and plant products, you will need to have registered via the current IT system eDomero, until you are directed to move to the new service. For Scotland and goods regulated by the Forestry Commission you will continue to use existing systems.

What IT system do I need to use to apply for exports phytosanitary certificates?

In early 2021 the IT systems used to apply for an export phytosanitary certificate for plants and plant products will be changing, moving from the current eDomero system to a new service. You should continue to use eDomero until you are directed to register and use the new service. The timing and sequencing of this migration will ensure a smooth and orderly transfer between systems and will allow sufficient time for you to become familiar with the new service. We will be providing comprehensive training and support before during and after migration.

Is a single phytosanitary certificate required for each commodity I want to export?

No, a single phytosanitary certificate can be issued for multiple product lines and indeed multiple commodities in a single consignment, provided the goods meet the import requirements of the destination country.

If a single commodity is exported to multiple Member States in the EU, is a phytosanitary certificate required for each consignment?

Yes, if you export material that is regulated by the EU then a phytosanitary certificate will be required for each consignment that is exported.

What is the turnaround time for an export phytosanitary certificate?

APHA will aim to ensure a phytosanitary certificate will be issued by the date requested, providing that a properly completed application form is provided 7 working days in advance of the export. This will allow time for the inspector to visit, inspect and have the phytosanitary certificate issued. Phytosanitary certificates are currently posted by 1st class mail.

Will every export have to have copies of all import PCs from the original imports?

Yes, if you’re goods are not go GB origin you will also need to make sure that the original PCs contain any of the additional declarations (AD) (special requirements) needed for certain commodities. This additional information will need to be included on the PC and must confirm that the goods meet the EU’s import requirements. Therefore, it is advisable to obtain a PC, even if one isn’t required for entry into GB, if the goods require an AD for entry into the EU.

What will be the lead time for the application for export?

In order to ensure your business receives the PC on the date requested you will need to provide 7 working days’ notice in advance of the export. Allowing time for the inspectors to visit, inspect, and take samples if required for lab testing and to issue the phytosanitary certificate.

What availability will there be for inspectors to come and inspect the goods before export, and how much notice will they need?

We are undertaking significant recruitment to increase the number of plant health inspectors in order to support trade for export inspections. Recruitment is ongoing. We are confident that we will have sufficient resources to meet demand from 1 January 2021 and ensure minimal disruption to trade. APHA are currently reviewing their operating hours to make sure that biosecurity standards will continue to be met and strengthened in ways that support trade and the smooth flow of goods while minimising new burdens on businesses. APHA will aim to ensure a phytosanitary certificate will be issued by the date requested, providing that a properly completed application form (preferably online) is provided 7 working days in advance of the export, this will allow time for the inspector to visit, inspect and take samples if required for lab testing and have the phytosanitary certificate issued. Phytosanitary certificates are currently posted by 1st class mail.

Are Fera recruiting in preparation for Jan 2021 to ensure no delays in export certification?

At the end of the transition period, the EU will apply third country import controls on exports from GB. This means there will be increased demand on both plant health inspectors to issue phytosanitary certificates and our diagnostic laboratory services to support this certification. We must make sure that our biosecurity is protected, and trade is enabled; we are undertaking significant recruitment to increase the number of plant health inspectors and diagnosticians in order to support this. Recruitment is ongoing. We are confident that we will have sufficient resources to meet demand from 1 January 2021 and ensure minimal disruption to trade.

Do we have to send samples with the export application to York?

Your local plant health inspector will be able to inform you whether or not a sample is required for exports. The plant health services will check that the consignment meets the EU's import requirements. Prior to export some commodities require laboratory testing of samples to ensure freedom from pests and diseases, while others may also require an inspection during the growing season in order to meet the EU’s third country requirements. Once they are satisfied that the commodity meets the EU’s requirements, they will issue a PC. You will need to pay a fee to the plant health authority for this service.

What will be the process for returning my plants and plant products to GB if they are rejected on arrival at a BCP in the EU?

Between 1 January – 30 June 2021, your rejected goods can re-enter GB through any point entry. You will be required to submit a pre-notification if your goods are returning to England or Wales via the relevant IT system Pre-notification must be submitted:

  •  for Roll-On Roll-Off and air movements, at least 4 working hours prior to arrival
  •  by all other modes of transport, at least one working day prior to arrival

 

For rejected goods returning to Scotland go to the SASA site.

You must include a copy of the original phytosanitary certificate with your pre-notification. If your consignment was exported without a phytosanitary certificate, please contact APHA on 0300 1000 313 before returning your goods or SASA on 0131 244 8890.

APHA will assess this information to decide the conditions of import and if the consignment needs further checks on entry to Great Britain. If further checks are required someone from APHA in England and Wales or SASA in Scotland will contact you.

Can I still export potatoes to the EU?

The EU has stated that after the end of the Transition Period, GB exports to the EU will be subject to EU import requirements, including existing prohibitions on seed and ware potatoes from third countries. This means that GB seed and ware potatoes will not be able to be exported to the EU. Defra has resubmitted its third country equivalence application. This means that from 1 January 2021, you will not be able to export ware and seed potatoes, or market GB certified seed potatoes or other certified propagating material (including pre-basic and basic) in the EU. Defra is aware of the implications of this for businesses and we will continue to engage with the Commission to complete an expedited approvals process in order to gain equivalence and the plant health changes as quickly as possible.

When will GB be authorised to export seed and ware potatoes to the EU?

Defra understands the challenging position of businesses that export seed and other propagating material to the EU. The UK has requested that the EU Commission expedites the approvals process. However, it can take one-two years for equivalence to be granted. This will leave a gap where businesses will be unable to export seed and ware potatoes to the EU.

What steps is the UK Government taking to guarantee that GB exports of seed and other propagating material will be accepted by the EU?

The UK has resubmitted its third country equivalence application to include responses following requests for additional information from the European Commission.

We know from other third country applications that this approval process could take up to two years and while we hope as an ex-Member State the EU will be able to approve the UK more quickly, you should plan on the basis that you will not be able to export most types of seed and propagating material to EU countries. We are acutely aware of the issues this will cause the industry, so we have asked the EU to expedite the process however, it is their decision to take.

Preparations are ongoing to ensure UK Government and the industry are ready for exporting agricultural seed under OECD certification, with an accompanied ISTA certificate, so that GB has capability to export to the EU once our application is approved.

We will continue to keep you updated of any progress on our listing.

Are there any plants or plant products that can’t be exported?

The EU has stated that after the transition period, GB exports to the EU will be subject to EU third country import requirements, including existing plant health prohibitions on seed potatoes and ware potatoes from third countries. This means that, on 1 January 2021, some prohibited commodities, high-risk plants, seed potatoes and ware potatoes will not be able to be exported to the EU. These prohibitions and requirements fall into two categories:

1. Prohibited Commodities Some commodities will be prohibited on plant health grounds, this includes current EU third country prohibitions and certain genera of high-risk plants covered by implementing regulation 2018/2019. These commodities cannot be exported to the EU unless the prohibition is lifted.

2. Seed and other propagating material requiring third country equivalence. Most seed and other propagating material cannot be exported to the EU until the EU has recognised the UK as equivalent. As part of the UK’s post transition planning, Defra, on behalf of the UK, has re-submitted an application to the European Commission for third country equivalence for certification of seed and other propagating material. This also requests the EU to address the plant health prohibitions which would ensure exports continue as now. The European Commission have responded to our latest application requesting additional information, we are preparing a response. Until this application is progressed and confirmed, you will not be able to export these commodities in the EU.

 

Will I be able to export soil and growing medium to the EU after the end of the Transition Period?

The EU has stated that after the end of the Transition Period, GB exports to the EU will be subject to the EU’s import requirements, including existing prohibitions on soil and growing media. This means you will not be able to export soil or growing medium to the EU/NI. Defra has resubmitted its third country equivalence application, which includes a request for the current import prohibitions in the EU to not apply to GB. Defra is aware of the implications of this for businesses and we will continue to engage with the Commission to complete an expedited approvals process in order to gain equivalence and the plant health changes as quickly as possible.

What are high-risk plants?

High-risk plants are plants and other objects that have been assessed by the EU as presenting a pest risk of an unacceptable level for the Union territory and whose introduction in the Union territory shall be prohibited pending a risk assessment

Where can I find a list of high-risk plants?

The list of high-risk plants can be found on gov.uk.

Who decided which plants would be listed as high-risk?

The list of high-risk plants has been developed by plant health experts at the EU Commission working groups since 2017. The UK was present in these working groups and voted in favour of the current list.

Where can I find a list of prohibited plants?

The list of prohibited commodities can be found in the Phytosanitary Conditions Regulation (2019/2072). Annex VI lists the prohibitions, commodities they apply to and the countries to which the prohibitions apply to.

EXPORT PROCESS GB>NI/ROI POST-TRANSITION PERIOD

What are the requirements for exports to Northern Ireland?

As set out in the Command Paper on The UK’s Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, and proposed by the UK Government last October, there will be new requirements on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. These requirements will uphold the longstanding status of the island of Ireland as a single epidemiological unit, and will build on the existing checks on live animal movements arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

The Protocol obliges both the UK and EU to seek to streamline trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and to avoid controls at Northern Ireland ports as far as possible. In line with that obligation, discussions are ongoing about the process by which controls are conducted, and their frequency. This Q&A and other related guidance will be updated to take account of those discussions.

Specifically, the UK Government recognises the unique position of authorised traders, such as supermarkets, with stable supply chains, and comprehensive oversight of warehousing and distribution operations, moving pre-packaged products for retail sale solely in Northern Ireland. We are continuing to pursue specific solutions for this trade, and this guidance does not therefore apply to this trade.

The UK Government will also be engaging with businesses and other stakeholders on further Government support that could be provided to address the new requirements on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. Further information on any support will be provided in the light of that engagement.

Notwithstanding the points above, all plants and plant products moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will need to:

  • be pre-notified by the NI importer in advance of arrival;
  • enter Northern Ireland via an appropriate point of entry; and
  • be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate (PC).

 

The GB operator intending to move regulated plants and plant products to NI, will need to secure a phytosanitary certificate prior to the goods departing GB with sufficient time to allow for inspections and any testing which may be required. A phytosanitary certificate is an official document that certifies that the material has been inspected, is considered free from quarantine and other pests, and that it conforms to the plant health requirements of the place of destination.

In order to obtain a phytosanitary certificate, the operator will need to apply to the relevant plant health authority: For plants and plant products the Animal and Plant Health Agency in England and Wales; the Scottish Government in Scotland; and for wood, wood products and bark only, the Forestry Commission in England, Wales and Scottish Forestry in Scotland.

Fruit and vegetables that have been processed, such as packaged salad, may not be subject to plant health control depending on the degree of processing. A selection of fruits (pineapple, coconut, durian, bananas and dates) are already exempt from specific phytosanitary controls, and do not therefore need to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. These products will not be subject to any phytosanitary requirements.

For movements of regulated plants and plant products, the GB operator will need to have registered with the appropriate plant health authority in GB to obtain a phytosanitary certificate through the relevant IT systems. For Scotland and goods regulated by the Forestry Commission you will also continue to use existing systems.

Will there be checks between GB and NI?

There will be some practical or administrative changes for traders in Northern Ireland. We want to work with NI businesses and the Executive to ensure new admin procedures are streamlined and do not affect the flow of trade.

Will exports of seeds from Great Britain to Northern Ireland still be allowed after the end of the Transition Period?

After 31 December 2020, the UK’s interpretation of EU legislation is that you can continue to market standard seed of vegetable and ornamental seed from GB to NI and into the EU. This is provided that the seed is traceable to an address in NI or the EU and it must meet plant health requirements. Additional information on the plant health requirements and the species which have additional requirements can be found here at gov.uk. For further guidance please visit the Plant Varieties and Seeds Q&A on the Plant Health Portal.

The UK has committed to unfettered movement from NI to GB, so there is no change to seed marketing or plant health requirements in respect of goods traded from NI to GB.

How will the process work at the border in the Republic of Ireland? Could there be / are there likely to be more checks at that border post, on top of the UK physical inspections?

Regulated goods may be subject to checks at the EU border such as in the Republic of Ireland to ensure that the goods comply with the EU’s import requirements.

We export fruit salad pots to the Republic of Ireland. Each pot has several different types of fruit in it. What documents do I need to export these?

We encourage traders to contact the plant health authority in the destination country to clarify their import requirements. Further information on exporting plant products to the EU can be found at gov.uk.

At the end of the transition period, the EU will apply third country controls on imports from GB. This means there would be increased requirements on plant health inspectors to issue phytosanitary certificates for exports of regulated commodities to the EU. The UK’s interpretation and application of the EU’s current third country controls are that phytosanitary certificates should not be required for plant products such as fruit and vegetables that have been processed and packaged to the point that they no longer pose a biosecurity risk. Composite products like nut and seed butters containing processed fruit or vegetables generally do not fall within plant health import controls or require a phytosanitary certificate.

Examples of these processed products are:

  •  Ready to eat sandwiches containing sliced fresh/fruit vegetables such as tomato, cucumber, lettuce
  •  Stir fry packs with sliced up fresh vegetables that are intended for cooking in a wok or similar
  •  Lettuce and salad packs for consumption e.g. packs of fresh sliced up lettuce leaves, rocket leaves, mixed salad leaves
  •  Salad pots e.g. Chicken salads, pasta salads etc. with fresh sliced salads
  •  Snack boxes containing cubes of fresh fruit and sliced grapes
  •  Fruit and nut mixes for snacking
  •  Packs of prepared vegetables containing sliced up carrot, broccoli florets, diced onions, sliced runner beans, sliced onions, potato slices etc. intended for cooking
  •  Coleslaw packs

 

In most cases, the EU do not require a PC for processed and composite plants and plant products, but we would suggest that exporters contact the relevant plant health authority of the destination member state to check whether a PC is required.

To note, this response applies only to plants and plant products from a phytosanitary perspective. Therefore, this response does not relate to animal products, and equally doesn’t extend to human health.

IMPORTS OF PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS

IMPORT PROCESS EU>GB POST-TRANSITION PERIOD

What plant health controls will be in place for EU material imported into GB at the end of the Transition Period?

From 1 January 2021, there will be the requirement for pre-notification and phytosanitary certificates for plants and plant products that pose the greatest potential risk to GB biosecurity and which are already subject to regulation within the EU. They will also be subject to import checks away from the border at places of destination, until July 2021 when checks will move to BCPs.

We are describing this list of plants and plant products as ‘high priority’ since as noted, they pose the greatest potential risk to GB biosecurity. The list on gov.uk includes all those plants and plant products which are currently within scope of the EU plant passport regime, plus a small number of others which are otherwise subject to regulation.

From April 2021, the requirement for pre-notification and phytosanitary certificates will be extended to include all regulated plants and plant products. A list of goods that will require pre-notification can be found on gov.uk.

From July 2021, an increased number of physical checks will be carried out on regulated plants and plant products occurring at Border Control Posts (BCPs)

The level of checks will also take account of the level of checks imposed by the EU on GB goods of similar risk status.

When will the list of ‘high priority’ plants and plant products be published?

An exhaustive list of ‘high priority’ plants and plant products that will require a phytosanitary certificate and pre-notification of import from 1 January 2021 was published on gov.uk on 8 October 2020, in line with the second iteration of the Border Operating Model.

Will the phased import regime apply to EFTA countries?

The phased import regime outlined in this Q&A applies only to imports of EU goods, including Switzerland and Liechtenstein, but not Iceland, Greenland or the Faroe Islands.

Will plants and plant products from the EU need to be pre-notified?

From January 2021, all ‘high priority’ plants and plant products will require a phytosanitary certificate and pre-notification via the relevant IT system. A full list of ‘high priority’ plants and plant products can be found at gov.uk

From April 2021, all regulated goods will require a phytosanitary certificate when entering GB and will follow the same process as for goods imported from third countries currently. A list of goods that will require pre-notification is available at gov.uk.

Any goods that require pre-notification will need to be notified to the relevant authorities before it reaches the border in GB. As part of the pre-notification, importers will need to provide scanned copies of relevant documents, including the PC. They will then need to send the original copy of the PC to the relevant authority. In England and Wales this is APHA for plants and products, Forestry Commission for the forestry sector, and SASA in Scotland.

What are the pre-notification requirements for imports?

Based of feedback from stakeholders we have recently reviewed our pre-notification time for Roll on Roll off (RoRo) freight.

Importers must provide at least four working hours’ pre-notification for consignments arriving via air or RoRo freight, and at least one working day’s notification for consignments arriving by all other modes of transport.

What IT system is being used to pre-notify for imports of plants and plant products in England and Wales?

In early 2021, the IT system used to pre-notify for imports of plants and plant products will change in England and Wales. From 1 January 2021 notifications will need to be submitted onto PEACH, until you are directed to change to the new service. Further information on how to register for PEACH can be found at gov.uk. Further guidance on the new system and details of training will be released in due course. For Scotland and goods regulated by the Forestry Commission you will continue to use existing systems.

What are the details/ requirements regarding pre-notification of arrival of imports?

From 1 January 2021, importers must submit pre-notification for all ‘high priority’ plants and plant products via the relevant IT system. A full list of ‘high priority’ plants and plant products is available at gov.uk.

From 1 April 2021, importers must submit pre-notification for all regulated plants and plant products, not just those categorised as ‘high priority’ via the relevant IT system. A list of regulated plants and plant products is available at gov.uk.

From 1 July 2021, imports of all regulated plants and plant products will be subject to increased checks occurring at BCPs.

Is PEACH being replaced by a new service for pre-notifications of plant health imports?

In early 2021 the IT systems used to facilitate the pre-notification of imports of plants and plant products will be changing, moving from the current PEACH system to a new service building on IPAFFS technology. However, you should continue to use the existing system until you are directed to register and use the new service. The timing and sequencing of this migration will ensure a smooth and orderly transfer between systems and will allow sufficient time for you to become familiar with the new service. We will be providing comprehensive training and support before during and after migration.

Will the IT systems be available for GB importers and GB-agents only, or can EU companies also use this system?

All importers and exporters can register for an account, providing they have also created a government gateway account as part of the process.

Do you have any further details on the documents that will need to be inputted on PEACH/ new service?

Once you have registered for the necessary account online, there are a number of documents and contact details for the Defra helpdesk who can support with questions on the process for raising an import notification and the supporting documentation required. All the contact details and process information are available at gov.uk.

Will there be IT and training support for ‘first timer’ GB importers (those importing solely from the EU), not just for customs agents and freight forwarders.

We are planning engagement sessions with businesses involved with importing plants and/or plant products from the EU. We will be providing videos and user guidance along with guidance for users on registering for the new service. We will provide videos and user guides and guidance on the process of raising a notification for import agents and those responsible for the load, as well as a decision process for Border Control Points and Inspectors. We will be holding webinars for new users to give additional demo of the new service and allowing Q&A sessions with Subject Matter Experts.

EU importers of live animals and germinal products are already expected to notify on IPAFFS and have had the opportunity to attend training webinar sessions previously. We will be offering another opportunity to attend these for refresher sessions before the end of the year.

Who is responsible for registering on PEACH/a new service , is it the GB individual consignee as they are the importer of record?

The ‘consignee’ address included on an import PC should be that of the importer/consignee who is responsible for importing the goods into GB. They are also the one responsible for registering on PEACH/ the new service as a professional operator in order to act as a GB importer. Traders importing plants and plant products must have established a registered GB business premises or office and supply a valid name, address and contact details.

Where can I find a list of goods that can continue to move freely into GB from the EU?

A selection of plants and plant products (pineapple, coconut, durian, bananas and dates) are already exempt from the specific phytosanitary controls outlined for most imports. These consignments will continue to not be subject to any border requirements. There may also be some additional plants and plant products, which do not pose a risk to GB biosecurity, which will be exempt from import controls. Guidance on the commodities exempt from import controls is available on gov.uk.

Should the PC accompany consignments physically?

All regulated plants and plant products imported from the EU will need to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate and may be checked upon entry into GB. A scanned copy of the PC may be submitted to the competent authority as per import notification requirements, provided the original PC is posted to the competent authority within three days of the consignment reaching GB.

What address should we put on the required paperwork for pre-notification and PCs?

As part of the pre-notification requirements, you will need to declare the location at which the goods will be presented for inspection. If your goods are deemed high priority and require a check at place of destination, then you will need to register the desired premise as a place of destination provided certain minimum requirements are met and declare the place of destination as the point of inspection for the plant health controls. These requirements are in place to ensure biosecurity is not at risk and that standards for inspectorate health and safety are maintained. Guidance on how to apply as a place of destination, and the minimum requirements to act as a place of destination will be published shortly.

Due to the restrictions and safety measures currently in place to control Covid 19, will a hard copy of the PCs and other paperwork still be required to accompany consignments from EU to GB, in addition to the pre-notification via the relevant IT system?

Usually, original PCs should accompany the consignment. A scanned copy of the PC may be uploaded to the PEACH system in light of the current Covid situation, however, within 3 days of your consignment reaching GB, you must post the original phytosanitary certificate to APHA for audit and compliance purposes. For consignments landing at Heathrow or Gatwick send the certificate to: Animal and Plant Health Agency

1st floor

Building 4

Heathrow Boulevard

284 Bath Road

West Drayton Middlesex

UB7 0DQ

For consignments landing anywhere else send the certificate to:

Animal and Plant Health Agency

Foss House, 1st Floor

Kings Pool, 1-2 Peasholme Green

York

YO1 7PX

Can APHA/DEFRA accept EU Plant Passports on products as a means of traceability back to depot where the PCs can be held, rather than sending a paper copy of the PCs to each store with the delivery?

Operators do not need to record PCs. EU Plant passports should not be required for traceability for internal GB movements as UK plant passports issued at First Place of Destination should provide the same level of traceability as the EU plant passport does currently. Traceability records need to be kept by the professional operator, this does not need to be by each individual store, but could be kept by head office, as long as the appropriate information can be provided at short notice to PHSI in the event of a pest outbreak. The information you need to record is outlined on gov.uk.

Where can I find a list of goods that can continue to move freely into GB from the EU?

A selection of plants and plant products (pineapple, coconut, durian, bananas and dates) are already exempt from the specific phytosanitary controls outlined for most imports. These consignments will continue to not be subject to any border requirements. There are some additional plants and plant products, which do not pose a risk to GB biosecurity, which will be exempt from import controls. Guidance on the commodities exempt from import controls is available on gov.uk.

Will there be plant health checks at the border on EU goods?

From 1 January 2021, there will be the requirement for pre-notification and phytosanitary certificates for plants and plant products that pose the greatest potential risk to GB biosecurity and which are already subject to regulation within the EU. They will also be subject to import checks away from the border at places of destination, until July 2021 when checks will move to BCPs.

We are describing this list of plants and plant products as ‘high priority’ since as noted, they pose the greatest potential risk to GB biosecurity. The list on gov.uk includes all those plants and plant products which are currently within scope of the EU plant passport regime, plus a small number of others which are otherwise subject to regulation

From April 2021, the requirement for pre-notification and phytosanitary certificates will be extended to include all regulated plants and plant products. A list of goods that will require pre-notification can be found on gov.uk.

From July 2021, an increased number of checks (physical and ID) will be carried out on plants and plant products occurring at BCPs.

Checks will be carried out by Plant Health and Seed Inspectors (PHSI) from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the Forestry Commission (FC) in England and Wales, and the Scottish Government and Scottish Forestry. Physical inspections will take place at destination. Guidance on what this entails is available at gov.uk.

What are the costs for import checks?

Fees will be applied for checks on EU imports, as is the case for imports from non-EU countries now.

DEFRA have taken the decision to delay the introduction of inspection fees for imports of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products until 1 April 2021 in England and Wales. This will give businesses time to adjust to the new fee arrangements and can factor it in to financial planning for next year. A full list of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products can be found at gov.uk.

What do you mean by a "risk-based approach" to checks at the border?

GB intends to ensure that its SPS regime remains appropriate to address the risks it faces. The plant health services already conducts risk-based checks at the border. The checks undertaken are determined according to an assessment of the risk presented by the import of different plants and goods from different origins. This risk assessment and risk management approach will apply to SPS goods from the EU from 1 January 2021. Therefore, ‘high priority’ plants and plant products will be subject to import checks to protect GB’s biosecurity. Any risk-based checks will be in line with WTO/SPS principles. For plants, Defra policy and risk management experts from all GB plant health administrations are developing a staged regime for imports from the EU:

From January 2021, ‘high priority’ plants and plant products, that is those which pose the greatest potential risk to GB biosecurity (e.g. plants for planting), will be subject to the requirement for a phytosanitary certificate and pre-notification;

From April 2021, the requirement for pre-notification and phytosanitary certificates will be expanded to include all regulated plants and plant products, not just those categorised as ’high priority’.

From July 2021, additional plant products will be subject to import checks taking place at Border Control Posts at a frequency commensurate with the risk posed.

What do physical checks actually look like of these goods?

Will every good be checked, or a sample from a consignment of goods? Physical checks on ‘high priority’ plants and plant products from the EU will take place away from the border initially. The level of checks will increase for plants and plant products where there is an opportunity to better mitigate existing risks from the EU. Plants and plant products will be physically checked by examining the contents of consignments to ensure there is no evidence of the presence of harmful plant pests and diseases. Goods subject to physical checks will not always be sampled for lab testing but may be sampled on a random basis or if non-compliance is suspected.

What are the requirements for an item to be considered plant-based products, and what import controls are these subject to?

Most plants and plant produce are regulated in the EU and will continue to be regulated in GB after the end of the Transition Period. Because they are regulated, they must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate (PC) when they are imported from a third country (and may be subject to imports checks). However, there are specific rules around both ‘processed’ and ‘composite’ products which can mean they are exempted from regulation. The UK’s interpretation and application of the EU’s current third country controls are that PCs should not be required for plant products such as fruit and vegetables that have been processed and packaged to the point that they no longer pose a biosecurity risk. Composite products like nut and seed butters containing processed fruit or vegetables generally do not fall within plant health import controls or require a PC.

To note, this response applies only to plants and plant products from a phytosanitary perspective. Therefore, this response does not relate to animal products, and equally doesn’t extend to human health.

Can I Import Potatoes?

Ware potatoes: imports of ware potatoes to GB from the EU will be permitted in relation to plant health requirements, and the normal import requirements for regulated produce will apply.

Seed potatoes: there is no plant health prohibition on the import of seed potatoes to GB from the EU, however marketing regulations may impact your ability to import these. Further information will be provided in due course.

What is GB doing for the EU in regard to the import of seeds from EU to GB?

We will grant the EU third country equivalence for two years and will apply normal international rules for marketing seed where they exist, such as OECD seed schemes. For seed potatoes, we will accept them into England and Wales for 6 months from 1 January 2021. We are granting the EU equivalence because we are reliant on EU seed imports for crops and horticulture. We are applying the same rules to the EU as they would apply to the UK if third country equivalence was granted.

Can I import soil/ growing medium from the EU to the UK after the end of the Transition Period?

At the end of the Transition Period soil and growing media will be allowed to be imported into GB from the EU. From January 2021 imports of these commodities will not require a phytosanitary certificate and or pre-notification via the relevant IT system.

At the end of the Transition Period, soil and growing media will be allowed to be imported as a commodity into the GB from the EU, Switzerland and Lichtenstein as they have been listed as countries to which an exception from the general prohibition applies. From January 2021 imports of these commodities from those aforementioned countries will not require a phytosanitary certificate or pre-notification.

For growing media attached to plants there are no special requirements that apply to the EU, Switzerland and Lichtenstein. There will, however, still be the requirement for a PC and pre-notification to be made from 01 January 2021 for the plants the growing media is attached to.

Some growing media may need to meet requirements other than those related to phytosanitary requirements before export.

Will imports of cut flowers require phytosanitary certificates?

Cut flowers do not appear on the ‘high priority’ plants and plant products list, and therefore will not require a phytosanitary certificate (PC) from 1 January 2021. However, cut flowers do appear on the regulated plants and plant products list, and will require a PC from April 2021. Please refer to the phased import regime set in this section of the Q&A for further details on the import process and guidance.

Will fresh fruit and vegetables be considered among the products included in this 'priority routes' contingency plan for operation Brock in 2021, given their high perishability and need for timely delivery?

The prioritisation plan referred to, set out in the DfT publication on gov.uk, will only be activated in the event of significant disruption to traffic flows. The requirements under which exports might be eligible for prioritisation are if they meet two or more of the following criteria:

  • a. the goods are highly perishable and will lose most of, or all their value, within five days or less (i.e. without additional refrigeration, freezing or other intervention, which would not be possible);
  • b. the ‘perishable’ goods concerned are live animals and would give rise to animal welfare concerns if not moved in a timely manner; and
  • c. delays to the goods would give rise to a disproportionate economic impact on a geographical area of the UK.

Based upon the criteria above, the government has identified two key sectors where a contingency to prioritise goods is justifiable. These are:

1. single loads of seafood products

2. day-old chicks (DOCs)

The consultation set out in the DfT publication on gov.uk has now closed, but the publication of the responses and results will be available shortly.

When can we expect DEFRA to publish its revised 'transit policy' which should clarify these issues?

Further guidance regarding transit policy will be available shortly. We are reviewing our transit policy to ensure GB biosecurity is protected and that trade is as frictionless as possible.

Will importers incur any additional charges because of these new checks?

DEFRA have taken the decision to delay the introduction of inspection fees for imports of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products until 1 April 2021 in England and Wales. The full list of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products can be found at gov.uk.

What does this announcement mean for the EU Future Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations on SPS?

We stand by our CFTA proposal, this is not undermined by our implementation of import controls in 2021.

Will there be delays to my goods at the border? Plants and plant products will not generally be stopped at the border, instead they will be moved on to a place of destination or other approved premises for physical inspection, preserving the flow of goods from EU to GB until the infrastructure is in place to perform checks at the border.

Will I need a phytosanitary certificate if I’m arriving in GB from the EU and I have plants in my personal baggage, car or van? and if so, from when?

From 1 January 2021, passengers arriving from the EU with plants in their personal baggage, must ensure that they are accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate if they are included in the list of high-priority plants and plant products, which can be found on gov.uk.

From April 2021, passengers arriving from the EU with regulated plants and plant products in their personal baggage must have a phytosanitary certificate. Find the list of regulated plants and plant products on gov.uk.

Your goods may be subject to checks upon arrival in GB. For further information on what goods require a phytosanitary certificate please contact your local plant health inspector or visit gov.uk.

What charges are associated with importing from the EU?

DEFRA have taken the decision to delay the introduction of inspection fees for imports of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products until 1 April 2021 in England and Wales. The full list of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products can be found at gov.uk.

I currently import EU goods subject to national measures. Will anything change for the way those imports work at the end of the transition period?

Plants which are currently covered by national measures will be subject to the same arrangements at the end of the transition period as other regulated plants concerning phytosanitary certification and import notifications and inspections. The specific import requirements (in terms of pest freedom etc) for such plants will be set out in regulations to come into force at the end of the transition period.

I currently import EU goods that require a scientific licence. Will anything change for the way those imports work at the end of the transition period?

No. The rules and processes for importing goods that require a scientific licence are the same regardless of the origin of the commodity. There will be no change at the end of the transition period for these consignments, therefore you will need to apply for a scientific licence as per existing processes.

Can I still import regulated products by post from the EU?

Regulated plants and plant products being imported by post will need to meet the same requirements as all other imports of plants and plant products. View the full list of regulated plants and plant products on gov.uk.

What about the online trade of plants, how will we turn this into an opportunity for increased biosecurity measures?

Online plant sales are a complicated area including mail-order via papers/magazines, internet auction sites and direct to customer trade, each sector presenting its own challenges. Online trading will continue to feature as a significant means of selling plants and will need to meet the same requirements as all other imports of plants and plant products.

PLACE OF DESTINATION, POINT OF ENTRY, PLACE OF FIRST ARRIVAL AND BORDER CONTROL POSTS

Who is responsible for the consignment at Point of Entry (PoE) and what are the disposal mechanisms if it fails checks?

The importer, or the agent acting on behalf of the importer, would have responsibility for the stock at a point of entry. If disposal of a consignment were required due to non-compliance etc, it would be the responsibility of the person in control of the consignment to organise disposal of the goods and notify the competent authority that appropriate action has been taken; this may be the importer themselves or a shed operator.

What is the anticipated clearance time at PoE from July 2021?

Further guidance surrounding anticipated wait times will made available soon. We are reviewing our Plant Health & Seeds Inspectorate operational hours in line with Port operations and service level agreements to ensure that trade is as frictionless as possible.

What address is required on an import PC, does the final destination of the consignment need to be listed.

The ‘consignee’ address included on an import PC should be that of the importer/consignee who is responsible for importing the goods into GB. Traders importing plants and plant products must have established a registered GB business premises or office and supply a valid name, address and contact details. In the event that an importer in GB does not have a registered GB business premises, they may use the services of a Customs agent to act as their proxy. If the importer is using a customs agent as their proxy, the PC should state the name of the importer (based outside GB); the name of the customs agent and the address of the customs agent; in the following format:

Anon Exporter Third Country Produce

C/o Joe Smith Freight Services

Nowhere Industrial Estate

1 Unknown Road

Some Town

City

SWXX 3XX

For further information on proxy addresses please visit the Plant Health Portal.

Do you know any more about the timescales involved between plants being unloaded from a lorry and undergoing physical checks by the relevant authorities?

We are undertaking significant recruitment to increase the number of plant health inspectors in order to support trade for import and export inspections. Recruitment is ongoing. We are confident that we will have sufficient resources to meet demand from 1 January 2021 and ensure minimal

disruption to trade. APHA are currently reviewing their operating hours to make sure that biosecurity standards will continue to be met and strengthened in ways that support trade and the smooth flow of goods while minimising new burdens on businesses.

Can shippers’ UK premises be approved as inspection post for Imports and Pre-Inspection post for Exports?

For imports into GB from EU, you can use a ‘place of destination’ for plant health physical inspections on EU regulated plants and products until 30 June 2021. Guidance on how to register as a place of destination, and the minimum requirements to act as a place of destination is available on gov.uk.

Will you have inland BCPs?

There are two inland BCPs currently in development, which will be designated for all SPS commodities. The inland BCPs will be located in Ashford (Sevington) and Dover. The location of these inland BCPs has been determined using trade flow data and industry consultation, to minimise the risk of trade disruption at the border once the phased EU-GB plant import regime concludes in July 2021.

Until the introduction of inland BCPs in July 2021, physical inspections of ‘high priority’ plants and products will take place inland at the place of destination. Further guidance can be found on gov.uk.

Will you still allow for inland import inspections (whether or not at BCPs) after 1 July 2021?

From 1 July 2021, all physical phytosanitary checks on regulated plants and plant products will take place at Border Control Posts, including the inland BCPs currently in development, located at GB points of entry.

Is it possible for trucks containing plants and plant products arriving at a PoE to be taken to a holding area near the PoE where they can wait for APHA inspections before being released to stores across the country?

Until July 2021 (the point at which all goods must be inspected at a BCP), it would be possible for a holding area near the port to be registered as a place of destination for import checks on high priority EU goods, provided that the place of destination is registered with the relevant competent authority and the minimum requirements are met and maintained.

At a Place of Destination can a consignment (for example a lorry load of plants on pallets) be unloaded from a lorry and watered if necessary?

Regarding watering to keep plants healthy and not damage the products, this is fine, as long as the below points regarding the consignments are fulfilled:

The operator should make sure that during transport to, and storage at, the place of destination, the consignment is:

• not tampered with or subject to any alteration or change of packaging

• closed and sealed properly to reduce the risk of pest infestation and contamination

If the current BCP model remains, can the UK Government commit to provide enough Border Control Points with sufficient capacity and being fully resourced to provide a cost effective service to our industry on 24/7 basis as needed?

We’re committed to ensuring our border systems are fully operational after the end of the transition period. To meet this commitment HM Government is investing an unprecedented £705 million package of investment for border infrastructure, staff and technology in Great Britain, to ensure our border systems are fully operational after the end of the transition period. This funding will support inland sites and ports which have EU to GB SPS trade flows to build their own BCPs. This will apply to all ports which are successful in their funding application. To assist ports in their applications we have released the Port Fund Pack on 9 October 2020.

Where ports do not have the space on port to build, HMG is building inland BCPs to ensure capacity. Engagement is underway with ports and we are speaking to Local Authorities about potential inland sites. Final decisions on inland sites will not be made until we have established the extent of new infrastructure that will be delivered at ports.

Defra are working with Port Health Authorities, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the Food Standards Agency to ensure recruitment and training of the additional staff required is completed for each stage of the new import regime.

Why is the POFA scheme ending?

The POFA scheme was part of D1ND planning and preparedness. As we enter a new relationship with the EU the POFA scheme is no longer legally required due to post transition planning.

Is the PoD scheme replacing POFA?

The POFA scheme is not being replaced, rather it is coming to an end. The PoD scheme is being introduced as a temporary arrangement from January 2021 until new Border Control Posts (BCPs) are in place in July 2021. Further guidance can be found at gov.uk.

How do I join the PoD scheme?

Those currently registered to the POFA scheme will be contacted directly by APHA. They will ask for confirmation that you are happy to register to the PoD scheme.

If you were not previously registered as a POFA, you will need to meet the minimum requirements and complete the registration process outlined on gov.uk.

Will there be any charges for me moving from the POFA to the PoD scheme?

There are no charges associated with the end of POFA scheme and no charges to register with the PoD scheme.

What are the minimum requirements for a PoD?

The minimum requirements in order to register as a PoD are set out on gov.uk. This includes requirements for transport and storage, as well as storage.

How will I find out if I have been successfully registered as a PoD?

The ending of the POFA scheme and start of the PoD scheme is an administrative process that will take place internally within APHA. APHA will provide a receipt to confirm the PoD registration process is complete.

What will happen when the use of PoD for EU high priority plants comes to an end on 30 June 2021?

These goods will enter through a BCP and undergo physical checks at the BCP.

Will I be charged for checks at POD?

HMT policy is that charges for statutory services should achieve full cost recovery. More details on current fees are available here. Information about import inspection fees for goods originating in the EU will be published in due course.

Notwithstanding, DEFRA have taken the decision to delay the introduction of inspection fees for imports of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products until 1 April 2021. The full list of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products can be found at gov.uk.

What material can be inspected at a PoD?

Only high priority plants will be checked at PoDs. The list of high priority plants can be found at gov.uk.

IMPORT PROCESS RoW>GB POST-TRANSITION PERIOD

Will there be changes to the way I import third country goods?

There will be no changes to the operational processes for importing into GB from non-EU countries, for example pre-notification will continue to be required and checks will still be carried out at Border Control Posts.

Please see the updated de-regulated products list which will apply from 1 April. Further information on the changes to Rest of World imports can be found at gov.uk.

The IT systems used to facilitate the pre-notification of imports of plants and other regulated articles will be changing, moving from the current PEACH system to a new service. However, trade should continue to use the existing system until they are directed to register for the new service.

Where will inspections take place for RoW goods?

RoW products will continue to be checked at BCPs as they do now and will not be checked at PoD.

How will RoW goods that pass through the EU, then on to GB be treated?

From 01 January 2021, plants and plant products from RoW that enter free circulation in the EU (having been subject to plant health checks) before travelling on to GB, will be treated by GB as if they were an EU import.

GB will be phasing in import checks for EU plants and plant products from 01 January 2021. More details of the phasing of EU imports can be found on gov.uk and in this Q&A.

If plants and plant products are imported from RoW countries to GB via the EU or any other third country under transit arrangements, such as the Common Transit Convention (CTC), then those goods will be treated as if they were direct imports from the third country of origin, and will require a PC and pre-notification from the 01 January 2021.

MOVING GOODS WITHIN THE UK

When will I require a UK Plant Passport?

The UK will continue to maintain a domestic plant passport system for internal movements. More details on this system, including on the format of the UK plant passport, has been released on the Post Transition Guidance page of the Plant Health Portal.

If a consignment is accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate from the EU, will a UK plant passport not be needed until after it has arrived at the first place of destination and leaves that place for further distribution?

A plant passport must be issued at the first Place of Destination in Great Britain after import with a phytosanitary certificate. No plant passport is required before this point, as the movement is covered by a phytosanitary certificate which provides plant health assurance for that movement.

What changes will take place in April and July, the guidance only refers to January 2021?

In the context of changes to plant passporting, new requirements will not be introduced in phases. All changes to plant passporting in the UK will take place from 1 January 2021.

From 1 January 2021:

  • EU PPs cannot be attached in GB.
  • For the first six months of 2021 UK PPs may be affixed in EU member states, this is not the same as issuance. Further detail can be found in section five of the Plant Passport fact sheet on the Plant Health Portal.
  • An operator in the EU will not be able to issue a UK PP because they will not be authorised to do so under the GB Plant Health Regime.
  • A PP is not just a traceability document but attests that the plants covered by that PP have met the plant health standards of GB. Further guidance regarding the Plant Passport regime from 1st January 2021 is available on the Post Transition Guidance page of the Plant Health Portal.

 

What about moving plants and plant products into Protected Zones?

For movements of relevant goods into EU Protected Zones you will need a phytosanitary certificate in future. While Protected Zones will no longer apply within GB, some areas are being designated as Pest Free Areas. Specific requirements will apply to the movement of controlled plants and plant products into and within such areas, and confirmation that such requirements have been met will need to be provided through the inclusion of the relevant Pest Free Area code on the UK plant passport. For details of the materials covered by these requirements, the Pest Free Areas codes will be published in due course. These codes will be either the scientific name or the EPPO code for the relevant PFA pests, as is current practice for codes on Protected Zone plant passports.

How do I obtain a UK Plant Passport?

If you are already authorised under the EU plant passport regime, you will not need to reapply.

For new businesses, the process for becoming authorised to issue plant passports and the required visits and assurance process will remain the same as they are now. Further information is available on gov.uk.

Will there be changes to how I move my goods within the UK?

There may be changes to the way in which plants and plant products are moved within the UK.

Information regarding the Plant Passport regime from 1 January 2021 is available on the Post Transition Guidance page of the Plant Health Portal.

What about movements of controlled goods to and from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man?

Such movements will be covered by UK plant passports, rather than phytosanitary certificates. Additional requirements may apply to move certain material to the Channel Islands and Isle of Man from the UK and you will need to check with the authorities in those territories for details.

Will I still need to use a plant passport for movements within the UK?

Yes, the UK intends to maintain a domestic plant passport regime, there may be changes to the way in which plants and plant products are moved within the UK.

Further information on the format of UK plant passports is available on the Post Transition Guidance page of the Plant Health Portal.

What level of inspections will I need to do to gain a UK plant passport?

For goods covered by the plant passporting scheme, a minimum of a single audit inspection a year applies to operators authorised to issue plants passports to ensure they are compliant. However, some operators may require further Growing Season Inspections (GSIs) depending on the commodities they trade in. For details on the levels of GSIs you will need in a single year, please contact your local Plant Health & Seeds Inspector (PHSI) for advice.

Will I still need to be authorised to issue plant passports?

Yes. If you are already authorised to issue plant passports under the EU regime, you will not need to reapply. The process for becoming authorised to issue plant passports and the required visits and assurance process will remain the same post-transition period as part of requirements under the UK plant passport regime. Further information is available on gov.uk.

If the UK plant passport is issued in the UK, can it be attached at any location or does it need to be at a registered location?

Under Article 84(3) of the Plant Health Regulation, an operator can only issue plant passports “in the premises, collective warehouses and dispatching centres which are under their responsibility and declared by them”.

As part of the registration process the operator must notify the competent authority of the premises where it intends to issue plant passports (Article 66(2d) of the Plant Health Regulation).

Can UK plant passports only be issued in the UK by a registered and authorised entity (which could also be e.g. a foreign trader that has set up a UK Ltd.)?

Yes, as long as the operator in question also has a premise in the UK which can be inspected and audited to ensure that the authorised operator is compliant.

Can somebody else/another company than our company issue a plant passport?

A professional operator that is authorised to issue UK plant passports by the UK competent authority may do so. That operator must be registered with the UK plant health authority and have a premise which can be inspected and audited to ensure compliance with the plant passport regime.

Will I still need to be authorised to issue plant passports?

Yes. If you are already authorised to issue plant passports under the EU regime, you will not need to reapply. The process for becoming authorised to issue plant passports and the required visits and assurance process will remain the same post-transition period as part of requirements under the UK plant passport regime. Further information is available here.

Will the UK plant passport be a straight replacement as in all movement of plants within the UK must have a UK passport or is it only for movements within the UK that fall into the new Pest Free Areas?

A standard UK plant passport will be needed for all movements of regulated plants and plant products within GB, not just movements in and out of PFAs. A UK PFA plant passport will be needed for commodities which are hosts of pests for which GB has PFA status, and would be required for movements within, and in and out of the PFA.

Will we need to add a PFA code to the passport for specific quarantine pests for hosts at risk or only for the published list of PFAs?

A PFA plant passport should only be used for commodities which are hosts of pests for which GB has PFAs, and then only for movements within, or in and out of PFAs. This is similar to the current system of ‘Protected Zone’ plant passports under the EU regime.

The PFA codes for the relevant pests will be the same as a PZ code now, i.e. either the EPPO code or the scientific name of the pest.

Will the format of the UK Plant Passport be exactly the same as the EU Plant Passport with the exception of the GB flag and GB letters?

Information on the new format of the UK Plant Passport is available on the Post Transition Guidance page of the Plant Health Portal.

A summary of the new format is as follows:

  • There will be no requirement for a flag;
  • ‘Plant Passport’ will become ‘UK Plant Passport’;
  • Guidance on Section A on botanical names will remain the same as currently;
  • Section B will simply require the unique registration number of the operator in question, the prefix of ‘GB’ will no longer be required. This is because this was only needed to differentiate between plant passports issued in different EU Member States under the EU regime.
  • Guidance on Section C on traceability codes will remain the same as currently;
  • Guidance on Section D (Country of Origin) will change for those commodities for which we have National Measures. Those commodities will need to be in the UK for a year before a PP could be issued which lists ‘GB’ as Country of Origin. GB is the ISO code for the whole UK. Those commodities are: o Hosts of Xylella fastidiosa: ▪ Plants, other than fruit or seeds of Olea europaea (olive), Coffea (coffee), Polygala myrtifolia, Prunus dulcis (almond)
  • Plants, other than seeds, intended for planting, of Lavandula sp. (lavender), Nerium oleander, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary). 
  • o Hosts of Ceratocystis platani: ▪ For plants of Platanus L., intended for planting, other than seeds.
  •  The UK cannot designate all or parts of the UK as an EU Protected Zone (PZ) from 1 January 2021. Therefore, we will replace PZ PPs with Pest Free Area (PFA) PPs. More details on PFAs are available on gov.uk.

 

For imported plants from the EU will they be able to travel under their EU Passport and PC or must they be repassported with a UK passport? As we import directly from some EU suppliers direct to customer how would this work?

From January 1 2021, the UK will no longer participate in the EU plant passport system. All imported plants from the EU will need to meet certain phytosanitary requirements.

From 1 January 2021, there will be the requirement for pre-notification and phytosanitary certificates for plants and plant products that pose the greatest potential risk to GB biosecurity and which are already subject to regulation within the EU. They will also be subject to import checks away from the border at places of destination, until July 2021 when checks will move to BCPs.

We are describing this list of plants and plant products as ‘high priority’ since as noted, they pose the greatest potential risk to GB biosecurity. The list on gov.uk includes all those plants and plant products which are currently within scope of the EU plant passport regime, plus a small number of others which are otherwise subject to regulation.

From April 2021, the requirement for pre-notification on the relevant IT system and phytosanitary certificates will be extended to include all regulated plants and plant products. A list of goods that will require pre-notification can be found on gov.uk.

From July 2021, an increased number of physical checks will be carried out on plant products on a risk basis taking place at Border Control Posts. For more information, please consult the import section of this Q&A.

Plant passports should replace phytosanitary certificates at the First Place of Destination, this is current practice for goods arriving with phytosanitary certificates from RoW countries now.

As some labels will be directly printed on the pot with an EU passport it could be the case that a product has an EU passport printed directly on it but a UK passport attached to the box/trolley/trading unit.

The EU plant passport will be invalid once in GB and will have been imported with a phytosanitary certificate. A valid UK plant passport will need to be provided when the consignment arrives at the first point of destination.

Can a plant passport be attached to the box/pallet or is it only possible to attach the plant passport to each product?

Extensive guidance on the attachment of plant passports is available on gov.uk . Further detail and examples may be found in Section 5 of our Q&A on the ‘Smarter Rules for Safer Food’ page on the Plant Health Portal.

The guidance sets out a minimum of what is required, if operator’s wish to go beyond that, e.g. by attaching a plant passport to each individual plant pot, they may do so.

If the plants and plant products in the box or pallet in question are homogenous in composition and origin, then a plant passport may be attached to the individual box or pallet. If there is a mix of plants or plant products on the box or pallet then passports would need to be attached to each individual product. There is an exemption when supplying trolleys of plants direct to retail, where a mix of plants on a trolley may be covered by a single plant passport. This is only applicable in cases where the trolley is travelling directly to an individual retail outlet without being modified before reaching that outlet, and as long as traceability can be maintained for that single movement which represents the end of the supply chain. This is consistent with our current approach to attachment of plant passports in the UK.

What do I need to change at the end of the Transition Period to move plants and plant products within the UK?

The process and requirements for moving plants and plant products that are currently managed under the EU plant passporting regime within the UK will broadly stay the same.

Further information regarding the UK plant passport regime from 1 January 2021 is available on the Post Transition Guidance page on the Plant Health Portal.

As we import trees direct from the continent straight to sites where stock will be planted, does this mean we now need to issue our own UK passports for this stock when it arrives? Or does it only apply if we take delivery to say our yard and then transport the stock onto site at a later date? We understand deliveries will need to come with a phytosanitary certificate.

If the material is going straight to site and being planted there (not being moved on at all), then the phytosanitary certificate can accompany the consignment to that site.

No UK PP would need to be issued in such a case, as a PP needs to be issued for further movements from Place of Destination (PoD). If the plant is not being moved from the PoD, no PP need be issued.

However, if the operator in question met any of the below criteria a UKPP would need to be issued:

a) Moving material to another professional operator;

b) Selling material to final users (those buying for personal use) by means of distance contract, e.g. online;

c) Moving material to another of their own premises which is more than 10 miles from the premises to which the consignment arrived;

d) If the phytosanitary status of the consignment changes, for example, if it has been grown on (more information on what is classed as growing on can be found on gov.uk under Part D of ‘Make a plant passport’), or if they have been reconfigured (e.g. two plants in separate pots have been planted up in a new pot together).

If a plant production company delivers directly a customer in the UK, is it necessary to have a UK plant passport?

There is no need for a UK plant passport if the consignment goes directly to the first delivery point with a phytosanitary certificate only. A UK plant passport must be issued if the consignment is distributed to other locations and/or being sold to consumers.

As the UK plant passport is issued at the First Place of Destination. As currently for imports from RoW countries, you only need to issue a UK plant passport for your goods if:

• you’re moving them to another professional operator;

• you’re selling them to final users (those buying for personal use) by means of distance contract, for example online;

• you’re moving them to another of your own premises which is more than 10 miles from the premises where the consignment arrived;

• the phytosanitary status of the consignment changes, for example, if it has been grown on, or if it has been reconfigured, for example, 2 plants in separate pots have been planted in a new pot together

If a UK plant passport is needed, can it be issued/attached in NL?

Issued is not the same as attached, as Articles 85-87 of the Plant Health Regulation set out substantive requirements and examinations on plants and plant products before issuance of a plant passport can take place. Article 88 concerns attachment of plant passports.

A UK plant passport cannot be issued outside of the UK because from 1 January 2021 GB will belong to a different Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Zone to the EU and will have a divergent plant health regime. Therefore, an operator in an EU member state will not be authorised to issue UK plant passports as they will be authorised under a different plant health regime.

More information on attachment of UK plant passports in EU member states will be available soon on the Post- Transition Guidance page on the Plant Health Portal.

FEES AND CHARGES

Will I need to pay for export services for EU exports?

Yes. Plant Health services operate on a basis of full cost recovery. Fees will be charged as they currently are for exports to third countries.

Will I be charged a fee for checks on regulated EU imports?

DEFRA have taken the decision to delay the introduction of inspection fees for imports of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products until 1 April 2021. The full list of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products can be found at gov.uk.

EU PROTECTED ZONES

Will we still have EU Protected Zones at the end of the Transition Period?

No. We will lose the ability to designate EU Protected Zones. We will replace the biosecurity protections provided by EU Protected Zones by designating quarantine pests or Pest Free Areas (PFAs) in accordance with international standards.

There are unlikely to be any major changes to import and movement requirements as a result of this change. Further information and Pest Free Areas will be made available in due course.

What is the difference between a Protected Zone and a Pest Free Area?

Both EU Protected Zones and Pest Free Areas allow countries to restrict 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.

Protected Zones allow Member States to place controls on intra-EU movements in order to avoid the introduction or spread of pests which are present elsewhere in the EU. Pest Free Areas are declared under recognised international standards and can be applied to both internal and international movements.

What do I need to change if I am moving goods into a Pest Free Area as opposed to a Protected Zone?

There are unlikely to be any major changes to import and movement requirements as a result of this change. Further information about controlled commodities and Pest Free Areas will be made available in due course. Areas are declared under recognised international standards and can be applied to international movements.

NORTHERN IRELAND AND DEVOLVED ADMINISTRATIONS

Is the post transition period approach the same across all the devolved administrations?

Great Britain (and to some extent the UK) functions as a single epidemiological unit for plant health purposes. Within this context, plant health is an area of devolved competency; the Government has committed to preserve the existing decision-making powers of the devolved administrations. We have established a UK devolution working group for plant health. This working group enables us to discuss end of transition planning with the Devolved Administrations, including establishing where a framework for biosecurity policy might be needed when we leave the EU.

FORESTRY AND WOODLANDS (INCLUDING WPM) Q&A

FORESTRY AND WOODLANDS GENERAL INFORMATION

Will the current EU legislation/regulation still be in place after the end of the transition period?

Felling licence regulations are covered under the Forestry Act 1967 which is domestic legislation and will not be affected by exit from the EU

Do I still need to apply for a felling licence at the end of the transition period?

Yes, felling licence regulations are covered under the Forestry Act 1967 which is domestic legislation and will not be affected by the end of the transition period.

Will the FC’s commitment to woodland wildlife and conservation change at the end of the transition period?

No, existing UK environmental law and commitments will continue unchanged. The Forestry Commission remains committed to the government’s objectives to protect, improve and expand England’s woodlands.

Will there be less robust protection against pests and diseases?

There is no change to the biosecurity threat as a consequence of the end of the transition period. We are working hard to ensure we have a robust regime in place which protects biosecurity while maintaining the flow of trade.

Will we still have EU Protected Zones at the end of the transition period?

No. We will lose the ability to designate EU Protected Zones. We will replace the biosecurity protections provided by EU Protected Zones by designating quarantine pests or Pest Free Areas (PFAs) in accordance with international standards.

There are unlikely to be any major changes to import and movement requirements as a result of this change. Further information about controlled commodities and Pest Free Areas is available on gov.uk.

What preparations have been made to ensure that plant health services are ready for the end of the transition period?

Our priorities for the end of the transition period are to maintain UK biosecurity; to keep trade as frictionless as possible; and to minimise new burdens on businesses.

At the end of the transition period, the right services will be in place to deliver the required checks on exports to the EU, and to manage changes to requirements on EU imports. More information is available at gov.uk.

FORESTRY INCENTIVES

Will I lose my current grant at the end of the transition period?

No. The Government has confirmed that existing Rural Development Programme England (RDPE) grants, Countryside Stewardship and legacy grants (e.g. EWGS) will be honoured for the duration of agreements.

Your payments and all terms of your agreement will continue unchanged. The Forestry Commission will continue to administer legacy grants.

Can I still apply for woodland management, tree health and woodland creation, grants after the end of the transition period?

Countryside Stewardship in its current form will continue to be offered to 2020, any EU funded contracts entered into by the end of December 2020 will be. This applies to Countryside Stewardship woodland grant support.

What grant support will be available for woodlands from the end of the Transition Period?

The government have communicated that Countryside Stewardship (CS) will remain until the future environmental land management (ELM) scheme is fully up and running by 2025 with final agreements for CS offered in 2024. From 2021 this may be a simplified CS offer, and some customers may be able to enter into ELM contracts as it is piloted from 2021. [A more detailed timeline can be found on gov.uk].

The Woodland Carbon Fund, HS2 Woodland Fund and Woodland Creation Planning Grant are not EU funded and therefore remain unaffected (in terms of lifespan and scheme offer).

Why should I apply for CS now rather than wait until it’s further simplified or the much better ELM comes along?

The government has given assurances* that no one entering a CS agreement will be unfairly disadvantaged when transitioning to new arrangements.

The government have communicated that Countryside Stewardship (CS) will remain until the future environmental land management (ELM) scheme is fully up and running by 2025 with final agreements for CS offered in 2024. From 2021 this may be a simplified CS offer, and some customers may be able to enter into ELM contracts as it is piloted from 2021. [A more detailed timeline can be found on gov.uk]

*See the section entitled ‘managing change’ in the speech by Michael Gove at the Oxford Farming Conference on 4 January 2018: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/farming-for-the-next-generation

If I enter into a new CS agreement now, will that stop me taking part in ELM?

Tests and trials for ELM are underway. It is planned that the new arrangements will come fully on stream at the end of 2024/start of 2025, following 3 years of being piloted nationally. Getting into a CS agreement now provides a viable, long term source of income for delivering environmental benefits for the lifetime of the agreement or until you enter into an ELM agreement.

As Defra develops the new ELM system and evolves the CS offer they will work to ensure a smooth transition from CS to ELM. Defra have said that no one in a CS agreement will be unfairly disadvantaged when we transition to new arrangements under ELM.

Can I terminate a CS agreement early if ELM is piloted in my area for 2024?

The national pilot of ELM is planned to start in late 2021 and run for 3 years. Initially it will involve limited numbers of farmers and land managers in the national pilot, growing to 15,000 by the end of the 3rd year of the pilot. Defra will confirm eligibility in due course so that it is clear what options are available. Defra need to make sure the new system is working well before we make it generally available.

FORESTRY AND TIMBER TRADE

Will there be new regulations for imports and exports of timber at the end of the Transition Period?

After the end of the Transition Period the European Timber Regulation and Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) will no longer apply in GB. For movement of timber with Nothern Ireland further guidance can be found on gov.uk.

From 1 January 2021, the UK Timber Regulation and UK FLEGT will apply in GB. You will be required to carry out due diligence to confirm timber is legally harvested if you are a:

  • Business importing from non-EU or EEA countries
  • GB producer placing timber on the GB market for the first time

 

For further guidance on importing timber from the EU and EEA, as well as from non-EU and EEA countries please visit gov.uk.

Specific queries should be emailed to: plant.health@forestrycommission.gov.uk

Will there be trade tariffs from 1 January 2021 that could impact my forestry business?

At the end of the transition period there will be immediate changes to the procedures that apply to businesses trading with the EU. Negotiations with the EU are ongoing, and a trade agreement may be reached.

If an acceptable trade agreement cannot be reached, free circulation of goods between the UK and EU would cease.

Businesses importing and exporting goods from the EU will be required to follow customs procedures in the same way that they currently do when importing goods from a country outside the EU, including the potential payment of duty.

Trade with the EU will be on non-preferential, World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms. This means that Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariffs and non-preferential rules of origin would apply to consignments between the UK and the EU.

Will the end of the transition period relax the rules governing timber imports which aim to prevent illegal logging and global deforestation?

No. The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan published last year, sets out our ambition to support and protect the world’s forests, support. sustainable agriculture and work towards zero-deforestation supply chains.

The UK was instrumental in the EU’s adoption of the EU Forest Law. Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, which aims to improve forest governance, reduce illegal logging and encourage trade in legally sourced timber. This consists of two regulations:

The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), a demand side measure which prohibits the placing on the UK market of illegally harvested timber. Businesses must exercise due diligence on timber imports to demonstrate legality of harvest when products are placed on the UK market for the first time.

The FLEGT Regulation, a supply side measure to improve the supply of legal timber. Once a timber producing country has agreed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU and has subsequently met sufficient standards, they can issue FLEGT licences to verify legality of timber harvest.

The UK Government will maintain its commitment to tackling the trade in illegal timber after we leave the European Union. The Timber Regulations and FLEGT will become retained EU law within the UK at the end of the transition period.

Do the Timber Regulations apply to all timber and timber products?

No – you can find more information about the scope of these regulations here: or contact OPSS.enquiries@beis.gov.uk

Exempt products include:

  • Recycled timber: timber that has completed its lifecycle and would otherwise be disposed of as waste e.g. timber from buildings that are demolished;
  • Packaging which is used exclusively as packing material to support, protect or carry another product placed on the market or is specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles for which they are intended.

 

How can I keep up to date with changes as they happen?

You can sign up to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) newsletter via email here.

You can sign up for updates on gov.uk.

Will UK businesses still be able to import FLEGT licenced timber at the end of the transition period?

Yes, FLEGT will become retained EU law within the UK if we leave the EU without a deal. Currently, the only country with an operationally approved FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) is Indonesia. The UK has replicated this agreement bilaterally with Indonesia to ensure that we can continue to accept their FLEGT licenced timber. The UK will continue to replicate VPAs with other producer countries as they develop robust FLEGT licensing systems.

Why do we only import FLEGT licenced timber from Indonesia?

In 2016 Indonesia became the first country capable of issuing FLEGT licences, which verify the legality of timber harvest. Many countries are working towards being able to issue FLEGT licences, but to date no other country is able to issue these licences. The UK will continue to replicate Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) which enable FLEGT licencing with other producer countries as appropriate as they develop robust FLEGT licensing systems.

Will there be delays for forestry material and timber at the border?

No – the Timber Regulations do not require checks of imported timber or timber products at the border. Compliance checks are conducted retrospectively, predominantly at the business premises.

While there are checks of FLEGT licenced timber shipments, the level of checks conducted will remain as they have been since November 2016 when FLEGT licences were first issued.

How will the timber regulations affect how I import timber and timber products from the EU after the end of the Transition Period?

‘Operators’ (those who place timber on the UK market for the first time), are required to conduct due diligence checks to ensure the timber was legally harvested.

UK operators importing timber from the EU or EEA will become subject to the due diligence requirement for the first time after the end of the transition period as we move from an EU to a UK market place; there is already a pre-existing due diligence requirement on timber imported from 3rd countries.

Due diligence consists of:

  •  gathering information on the timber - its species, quantity, supplier, country of harvest and how it complies with relevant laws;
  •  assessing the risk of illegally harvested timber entering the supply chain;
  •  mitigating any identified risk.

 

Where the supply chain is complex, further information and actions may be required. Further guidance relating to the requirements of the Timber Regulations and due diligence can be found here. Or contact OPSS.enquiries@beis.gov.uk

The timber and timber products I import into the UK are covered by a CITES import permit – do I still need to carry out the due diligence requirement of the Timber Regulations?

CITES listed timber and timber products which are imported to the UK and covered by a valid CITES import permit are considered legally harvested for the purposes of the UK Timber Regulations; this means operators do not have to conduct due diligence.

The timber and timber products I import into the UK are covered by a FLEGT licence from Indonesia – do I still need to carry out the due diligence requirement of the Timber Regulations? If the timber or timber product is imported directly to the UK from Indonesia and is covered by a valid FLEGT licence from Indonesia, which is verified before the goods are released from Customs, it is considered to be legally harvested for the purposes of the UK Timber Regulations and operators do not have to conduct due diligence on it. If, however, it goes through a third country (including the EU/EEA) and then is placed on the UK market, the operator will need to undertake the due diligence requirement.

 

I buy timber and timber products from other businesses within the UK – how will this affect me?

Businesses who buy/sell timber that has already been placed on the UK market are referred to as ‘traders’ in the Timber Regulations.

Traders are already subject to the requirement to keep supply chain records for timber transactions within the UK. Further guidance relating to the requirements of the Timber Regulation on traders can be found here.

I export timber and timber products to the EU or EEA – how will this affect me?

UK based businesses that export timber products to the EU and EEA will need to supply additional information to the EU/EEA operators (those who place timber on the EU/EEA market for the first time) to enable them to comply with the EU Timber Regulations.

Due diligence systems will vary business by business and you should check what the EU operator requires. The following list provides examples of the type of information which may be required:

o unique identification, trade name or description of the product;

o scientific and common name for the species of timber;

o country of harvest and where applicable subnational region and concession of harvest;

o volume of timber or timber products;

o name and address of the organisation that supplied the timber;

o documents or other information indicating compliance of the company’s timber with the applicable legislation in the country, sub national region and/or concession of harvest.

Can I use UK based monitoring organisations?

The UK will still recognise monitoring organisations based in the UK. These are independent bodies which carry out due diligence on timber. They’ll still support UK timber standards.

The UK will not automatically recognise EU or EEA monitoring organisations if there’s no deal.

You can find a list of UK monitoring organisations here

I import and/or export timber and timber products around the world (but not in the EU/EEA) – how will Brexit affect me?

The Timber Regulations and FLEGT will continue to have the same requirements and operate in the same was as they did prior to Brexit. Further guidance relating to the requirements of the Timber Regulation and FLEGT can be found here. Or contact OPSS.enquiries@beis.gov.uk

If I import or export timber and timber products are there any other changes I need to be aware of?

Businesses should also make themselves familiar with any separate requirements relating to plant health legislation, which may also apply.

Most of the timber sector is made up of small and medium sized enterprises. How will you support SMEs which trade in timber and timber products across the EU with the associated costs of implementing the UK Timber Regulations?

We want to make sure SMEs are supported in being compliant with the UK Timber Regulations. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) already enforces the timber regulations in the UK, checking that appropriate records are maintained by traders and operators and ensuring that the due diligence systems of operators are fit for purpose.

This will continue to be the case when we leave the EU. OPSS will support and advise businesses on their due diligence systems and how to ensure costs are minimised.

Where can I get further information?

Further guidance relating to the requirements of the Timber Regulation and FLEGT can be found here. Or contact OPSS.enquiries@beis.gov.uk

You can sign up for updates on gov.uk.

WOOD PACKAGING MATERIAL

What is ISPM15?

International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures 15 (ISPM 15) sets out measures required to reduce the risk of the introduction and spread of pests associated with wood packaging material (WPM). For GB, this requires all WPM moving between GB and RoW to be treated and marked.

Are there any exemptions?

Whilst there can be exceptions to the exempted products listed below, depending on the country of origin and the type of wood used in the product manufacture, the following articles are generally regarded as being of sufficiently low risk to be exempt from ISPM 15 requirements –

- wood packaging material made entirely from thin wood (6 mm or less in thickness)

- wood packaging made wholly of processed wood material, such as plywood, particle board, oriented strand board or veneer that has been created using glue, heat or pressure, or a combination thereof

- barrels for wine and spirit that have been heated during manufacture

- gift boxes for wine, cigars and other commodities made from wood that has been processed and/or manufactured in a way that renders it free of pests

- sawdust, wood shavings and wood wool

- wood components permanently attached to freight vehicles and containers

Is it correct that all WPM entering GB should meet the ISPM 15 criteria?

At the end of the transition period, all WPM moving from GB to the EU and from the EU to GB must meet ISPM15 international standards by undergoing heat treatment and marking.

As there will be no immediate change to the WPM biosecurity threat after the end of the Transition Period, GB will continue to take a risk-based approach to checks on WPM as we do now and will not routinely conduct checks at the border.

Does my WPM need to be ISPM15 compliant if it’s moving from Northern Ireland to GB?

As committed to in the New Decade, New Approach deal to restore the Northern Ireland Executive, the UK Government will guarantee unfettered access for Northern Ireland’s businesses (including businesses headquartered in Great Britain with operations in Northern Ireland) to the rest of the UK internal market from 1 January 2021, ensuring that trade from Northern Ireland to Great Britain continues for those businesses as it does now.

Therefore, as now, wood packaging material (including wooden pallets) moved from NI to GB by NI businesses will not need to comply with international standards (ISPM 15).

Does my WPM need to be ISPM15 compliant if it’s moving from GB to NI?

As set out in the Command Paper on The UK’s Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, and proposed by the UK Government last October, there will be new requirements on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. These requirements will uphold the longstanding status of the island of Ireland as a single epidemiological unit.

At the end of the transition period, wood packaging material, including pallets and crates, moving from GB to NI will need to be treated and appropriately marked in compliance with international standards (ISPM 15).

Does WPM moving from ROI destined for NI still need to be on heat treated pallets?

Building on the existing practice established to maintain the Single Epidemiological Unit on the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland will align with EU Sanitary and Phytosanitary rules. Therefore, as now, wood packaging material (including wooden pallets) moved from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland will not need to comply with international standards (ISPM 15).

How do I ensure my WPM is compliant?

Contact your supplier or TIMCON if you need more advice about the steps you can take to prepare the end of the transition period.

Will there be new checks on WPM moving into GB?

As there will be no immediate change to the WPM biosecurity threat as a result of the end of the Transition Period, GB will continue to take a risk-based approach to checks on WPM as we do now and will not routinely conduct checks at the border on EU WPM.

Will there be new checks on WPM moving to the EU?

After the end of the Transition Period, all wood packaging material (WPM) moving between GB and the EU must be treated and appropriately marked in compliance with international standards (ISPM 15). This is in line with international requirements for trade and is in place to protect both the EU and GB from harmful plant pests and diseases

What happens if my WPM is not compliant?

There will be no change to the way that we treat WPM checks when we leave the EU. WPM which is low phytosanitary risk won’t be checked for compliance and checks on higher risk WPM will be risk based as currently. Where high-risk material is detected it should be removed from use and destroyed in a way that eliminates any phytosanitary risk. Our inspectors will serve statutory plant health notices on those responsible for the non-compliant WPM and these notices will specify the remedial action.

Do wooden manufactured products, such as staircases, entering GB from EU need to be treated for insects as part of the ISPM15 requirements?

No these are not WPM, and therefore do not need to be ISPM 15 compliant, including being treated for insects. Manufactured/processed items, such wooden staircases, are also not on the regulated plants and plant products list and therefore would not require a phytosanitary certificate or pre-notification.

Does wood packaging material in the form of stickers and spacers and dunnage used to transport consignments of sawn timber need to be ISPM 15 compliant?

Where wooden stickers, spacers and dunnage is used to transport consignments of regulated sawn timber and they are of the same type and quality as the timber commodity being shipped, then they do not need to be compliant with ISPM15.

Industry is not set up to carry out ISPM15 marking on all wood packaging material. How will you address this?

Defra has established a strong relationship with the wood packaging material industry. We have worked closely to develop policies which will ensure our biosecurity is maintained and trade continues to flow with as little disruption as possible. The wood packaging material (WPM) industry have been working tirelessly. The UK Timber Pallet and Packaging Confederation (TIMCON) report that WPM treatment capacity has increased, with a greater number of heat treatment facilities (kilns), operating over longer hours.

In the event there is a Deal Scenario between the UK and the EU, will goods traveling into GB from the EU continue to require ISMP15 Heat Treated Pallets?

The UK is leaving the EU’s customs union and single market. That means businesses will have to prepare for life outside of these, which will inevitably mean extra processes required on UK-EU trade. As such, after the end of the Transition Period, all wood packaging material (WPM), including wooden pallets, moving between GB and the EU must be treated and appropriately marked in compliance with international standards (ISPM 15). This is in line with international requirements for trade and is in place to protect both the EU and GB from harmful plant pests and diseases.

Where can I find more information?

More information and advice on importing and exporting wood packaging material can be found at gov.uk and TIMCON.

Further guidance on importing and exporting plants and plant products after the end of the transition period can be found at gov.uk.