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Q&A: IMPORTS OF PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS FROM THE EU TO GB

 

Q&A: IMPORTS OF PLANTS AND PLANT PRODUCTS FROM THE EU TO GB 

Published: 16/09/2021 

 

Why have the EU imports phasing timings been changed? 

Since leaving the EU’s single Market and Customs Union, businesses and citizens have adapted to new processes and requirements. Thanks to the hard work of traders and hauliers, we did not see anything like the generalised disruption at our ports which many predicted on 1 January this year.   

However, businesses have faced a range of challenges over recent months as they recover from the global pandemic which has impacted supply chains across Europe. This is being felt particularly by the agri-food sector, where new requirements on importing products of animal origin and plant produce were due to be introduced from October ’21 and Jan ’22 respectively.  

In recognition of this, rather than introduce new import controls at this time the Government has listened to those who have called for a new approach to give businesses more time to adjust. 

 

Does this delay to import SPS checks mean that the UK’s high biosecurity standards will be compromised? 

The agreement reached with the EU means the UK and EU have very similar plant health measures, now the transition period has ended. Moving forward, we are committed to maintaining high biosecurity, food safety and animal welfare standards. This includes the introduction of the staged SPS controls.   

We already have controls in place on high-priority plants and plant products, and checks on these goods will continue to be carried out at places of destination.   

 

Do high-priority plants and plant products still need to be checked at BCPs from January? 

Physical and identity checks of high-priority plants and plant products will move from Places of Destination (PoDs) to BCPs from 1 July 2022.  

 

What plant health controls will now be in place for EU material imported into GB following the border controls announcement? 

Since 1 January 2021, there has been the requirement for pre-notification and phytosanitary certificates (PCs) for plants and plant products that pose the greatest potential risk to GB biosecurity and which were already subject to regulation within the EU. They are subject to import checks away from the border at places of destination (PoDs), until 1 July 2022 when checks will move to Border Control Posts (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.ukincludes all those plants and plant products which were previously within scope of the EU plant passport regime, plus a small number of others which are otherwise subject to regulation.  

From 1 January 2022, the requirement for pre-notification will be extended to include all regulated plants and plant products (i.e. not just those which are ‘high-priority’).  A list of regulated goods that will require pre-notification is available here.  

From 1 July 2022, the requirement for Phytosanitary Certificates and risk-based import checks (documentary, identity and physical) will be extended to include all regulated plants and plant products (i.e. not just those which are ‘high-priority’), and those checks will take place at BCPs.  A list of regulated goods is available here.

 

What changes for me now due to the changes in phasing timing? 

There are no immediate changes to the plants and plant product import process.  

From 1 January 2022, the requirement for pre-notification will be extended to include all regulated plants and plant products (i.e. not just those which are ‘high-priority’).  A list of regulated goods that will require pre-notification is available here. 

From 1 July 2022, high-priority plants and plant products will be checked at BCPs rather than PoDs. Until this point, all necessary checks will continue to take place at PoDs 

From 1 July 2022, the requirement for Phytosanitary Certificateand risk-based import checks (documentary, identity and physical) will be extended to include all regulated plants and plant products (i.e. not just those which are ‘high-priority’), and those checks will take place at BCPs.  A list of regulated goods is available here.

 

When are BCPs going to be operational for plants and plant products? 

From 1 July 2022, Border Control Posts will be used to check all regulated plants and plant products including those which are high-priorityUntil then, high-priority plants and plant products will continue to be checked at PoDs.  

 

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

Since 1 January 2021, all ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products require a phytosanitary certificate and pre-notification via PEACH. A full list of ‘high-priority’ plants and plant products can be found at gov.uk. 

The way you submit import pre-notifications and applications online is changing. A phased transition to the new IPAFFS service started in Summer 2021 and will continue throughout the Autumn, you will be notified when you can join the new service. Until then you should continue to use PEACH.  

From 1 January 2022, the requirement for pre-notification will be extended to include all regulated plants and plant products (i.e. not just those which are ‘high-priority’).  A list of regulated goods that will require pre-notification is available here. 

From 1 July 2022, all regulated goods (i.e. not just those that are high-priority) will require a phytosanitary certificate when entering GB from the EU (excluding Ireland).  

Pre-notification will need to be provided to the relevant authorities before it reaches the border in GB, at least 4 working hours for Roll-On Roll-Off Freight, and at least one working day for all other freight. 

As part of the pre-notification, importers need to provide scanned copies of relevant documents, including the Phytosanitary Certificate. They then need to send the original copy of the Phytosanitary Certificate to the relevant authority within 3 days of landing, or as soon as feasibly possible. In England and Wales this is the Animal and Plant Health Agency for plants and plant products, Forestry Commission for the forestry sector, and SASA in Scotland.  

 

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

Since 1 January 2021, notifications need to be submitted onto PEACH and continue to until you are directed to change to the new service. Further information on how to register for PEACH can be found at gov.uk. 

A phased transition to the new IPAFFS service started in Summer 2021 and will continue throughout the Autumn, you will be notified when you can join the new service. Until then you should continue to use PEACH. 

 

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

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

From 1 January 2022, importers must submit pre-notification for regulated plants and plant products, not just those categorised as ‘high-priority’, via the relevant IT system. A list of goods that will require pre-notification is available here. 

From July 2022, the UK’s Border Operating Model will be fully operationalised with physical and identity checks on all regulated plants and plant products being carried out at BCPs. 

 

Does the extension to the phasing effect the new IT systems roll out at all? 

Despite the extension to timelines for the introduction of the next phase of plants and plant products imports from EU to GB, the development of the new Plants IT systems remains on track for delivery later this year. The extension will not impact the timeline for development, delivery and rollout. 

A phased transition to the new IPAFFS service started in Summer 2021 and will continue throughout the Autumn, you will be notified when you can join the new service. Until then you should continue to use PEACH. 

 

Why do British businesses have to comply with EU SPS rules and bear the associated costs exporting goods to the EU but EU businesses don’t have to do the same when sending goods to the GB?  

We knew that preparing for full import border checks outside the EU’s single market and customs union would be challenging, particularly at a time when businesses - especially those working in key sectors - were already having to manage the impact of Covid-19.   

That is why we took a pragmatic decision to give businesses more time to prepare, announcing we would stage the introduction of our new border requirements throughout 2021 - with full import controls only coming into force in July 2022. The EU did not choose to do the same and exporters had to be ready by 1 January 2021.  

We will do whatever it takes to support businesses through the Coronavirus crisis, and we want to make our border processes more effective and efficient. Our decision to delay import controls means we can help businesses and improve our systems.