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Reduced Frequency Checks

Although the general rule is that all consignments of material listed in Schedule 2 in the Plant Health (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 must be inspected on arrival in Great Britain, plant health checks can be carried out at a reduced frequency where this can be justified.

Defra has developed a risk-targeted inspection system to allow for lower levels of checks on regulated plant health goods. The application of this legislation will be to Great Britain only. Northern Ireland remains within the EU plant health regime, under the Northern Ireland Protocol. This means the import arrangements for plants moving from the EU or Rest of World to Northern Ireland have not changed since the end of the Transition Period.

Details on which commodities are subject to what % level of checks are available on our Reduced Physical Checks Regime page.

To be eligible for a reduced frequency check in Great Britain, each trade (trade = commodity from a single country) over the previous 3 years must have had:

  • an average of at least 54 consignments per year and
  • a minimum of 40 consignments inspected per year.


Trades must be able to demonstrate evidence of good compliance, for example no, or a very low level of, quarantine pests being detected.

Any interceptions associated with a particular trade are assessed and allocated a value depending on the estimated mobility of the harmful organism concerned. The total of the allocated values for the particular trade becomes its risk index which is compared against a table of values differentiated according to the number of inspected consignments. The resulting figure is the recommended inspection frequency for the consignment. The final inspection level may be adjusted to ensure a minimum of 40 consignments per year are inspected.