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New imports timeline - email sent 11/03/2021

New imports timeline - email sent 11/03/2021:


Phased Introduction of Import Checks on EU Plants and Plant Products  

Today (Thursday 11 March), the Government announced a revised timetable for the introduction of import border control processes, to enable UK businesses to focus on their recovery from COVID. This includes changes to the timing of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks on imports of live animals, products of animal origin, plants and plant products imported to GB from the EU. 


Last June, the government announced a timetable for the phased introduction of controls on imports from the EU into GB, to ensure businesses had time to prepare. This timetable was based on the impacts of the first wave of COVID. We know now that the disruption caused by COVID has lasted longer and been deeper than anticipated. Accordingly, the Government has reviewed these timeframes.  


Although we recognise that many in the border industry and many businesses have invested time and energy to prepare, and indeed, we in Government were confident of being ready on time, we have listened to businesses who have made a strong case that they need longer to prepare. In reviewing the timeframes, we have given particular consideration to the disruption which has been caused, and is still being caused, by COVID, and the need to ensure that the economy can recover fully. 


We are therefore, announcing today a revised timetable for the introduction of plant health controls, as follows: 


  • Since 1 January 2021, phytosanitary certificates have been required to accompany EU imports of high-priority plants and plant products. Documentary, identity and physical checks of these goods have been carried out at Places of Destination 
  • From 1 January 2022, physical and identity checks of high-priority plants and plant products will move from Places of Destination to BCPs. 
  • From 1 January 2022, the requirement for pre-notification and phytosanitary certificates will be extended to all regulated plants and plant products (i.e. not just those which are ‘high-priority’). 
  • From March 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. 


We will continue to engage with businesses to support them, as they adjust to the new requirements already in place and to prepare for the new requirements set out above so that they can continue to trade successfully under the new arrangements. 


A Q&A related to the import arrangement can be found on the Post Transition Period page on the plant health portal.




Defra Plant Health 

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