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Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for Places of Destination (PODs) from 1 January

Place of Destination: Service Level Agreements & Operational Hours


• Consignments can be inspected at registered Places of Destination 7 days a week, 7am-7pm.

• APHA will aim to inspect your consignment within four working hours of the time given for inspection by the importer as part of their pre-notification.

• In order for this Service Level Agreement to apply, importers must provide pre-notification of import at least four working hours before the goods are landed (i.e. arrive into a Point of Entry) in GB via Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo) or air freight via the PEACH system. The importer should aim to provide as much pre-notification as they are able to in order to receive a decision on whether a physical check will be required as soon as possible. In addition, the time given for inspection must be accurate.

• In the event that APHA are unable to inspect the goods within 4 working hours, APHA will release the goods. There are some very limited exceptions. For example, if there is an identified risk with a specific consignment, such as a recent interception of a harmful pest of disease having been made on the same plants from the same supplier, then those goods will be detained until an inspection has been carried out, even if that goes beyond the 4 working hour window. There may also be cases where inspections are arranged outside of the 4-working hour window by mutual agreement between APHA and the operator of the respective Place of Destination.

• APHA will be providing a flexible approach to operations where possible following the end of transition period to help manage demand e.g. some out of hours coverage where resource allow.

• APHA will regularly review the service standard provided at Places of Destination to make sure it stays fit for purpose and in order to facilitate trade.

• Physical checks will be conducted at Places of Destination on a risk-basis, specific to GB biosecurity objectives.

• If the inspector suspects there is a quarantine organism present, they will send a sample off to have it officially verified by the accredited laboratory. Goods will be held pending diagnosis. Results are returned within 24 hrs – 5 days dependent on the type of pest/disease requiring diagnosis and the tests required. If goods need to be held for longer, this will be communicated with you. The plants will need to be held in isolation until they are cleared, the inspector will provide clear instructions on this and any other measures required.


Forestry Commission:

• Forestry Commission will inspect consignments of wood, wood products and isolated bark at places of destination throughout GB, including Scotland.

• Forestry Commission’s Service Level Agreement will continue to be the standard three-day turnaround period regardless of freight type, provided you have given four working hours pre-notification of arrival in GB for goods arriving via Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo) or air freight. Forestry Commission standard working days are Monday - Friday 9am to 5pm.

• The Forestry Commission will aim to tell businesses if their goods had been selected for inspection before the end of our 3-day turnaround period.

• If goods arrive outside of the working hours of the competent authority, then goods may be held overnight pending a physical inspection. This could entail a wait until the following Monday, if they arrive on a Friday out of hours.

• Forestry Commission will regularly review the service standard provided at PODs to make sure it stays fit for purpose and in order to facilitate trade as much as possible.

• Physical checks will be conducted at place of destination on a risk basis specific to UK biosecurity objectives. 100% documentary checks will take place on high priority material.


Additional information:

• An importer must provide advance notification to the relevant plant health service at least four working hours before the point it first arrives (e.g. GB port or airport) into GB (for air freight and RORO) and one working day for all other freight (in the UK this is primarily deep-sea ports).

• The importer is required to notify the relevant plant health service what time and where the goods (pre-registered place of destination) will be presented for inspection through relevant plant health system or through Forestry Commissions ‘notice of landing’ form.

• The Service Level Agreement for each authority starts when the goods have arrived at place of destination and are presented ready for inspection to the relevant plant health service.

• The importer is responsible for ensuring the goods are presented and available for inspection as per the pre-notification.

• If your goods arrive outside of the working hours of the relevant plant health service, your goods may be held overnight at the Place of Destination pending a physical inspection. However, APHA and FC will take a pragmatic and proportionate approach to holding goods based on biosecurity risk.



• Consignments can be inspected between 8:30am and 5pm from Monday to Friday (except Scottish Government bank holidays )

• The Scottish Government will inspect your consignment within one working day of it becoming available, providing you have given the adequate notice period of landing (4 hours for arrival by RoRo or air, 1 day for sea).


Further guidance on Places of Destination and how to register can be found on