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How Import Charges Are Calculated

Introduction 

UK government policy is to recover the costs of carrying out official checks to manage risks arising from commercial activity. This includes the costs of inspections to reduce risks to plant health from the trade in plants and plant produce. 

In England and Wales, the charges are set out in the Plant Health etc. (Fees) (England) Regulations 2018 (as amended) and the Plant Health etc. (Fees) (Wales) Regulations 2018 respectively. The import inspection fees for goods imported from the EU into England and Wales are the same and are shown in Annex B of this document. 

In Scotland, fees for EU goods are set out in the Plant Health (Import Inspection Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 (as amended). The relevant schedules can be viewed here. The same methodology is used in Scotland as in England and Wales, however, Scotland charges are based by total quantity/weight of consignments. All charges are rounded up to the nearest pound except for the additional quantity values which are rounded up to the nearest penny.    

The imports of bulk loads of loose bark/wood chippings for forestry use is out of scope of these arrangements. These fees remain unchanged for all types of inspections. More information on the fee structure can be found here. 

You must check whether or not consignments of plants, plant products and other objects from the EU which you import require pre-notification, guidance can be found here. If they do, then you must submit that notification via the PEACH (and in due course IPAFFS) system before so goods can be customs cleared in Great Britain.  Under the current system of pre-notification using PEACH, charging is based on the DUCR number. DUCRs are a unique reference number that is generated when a consignment is entered into the HMRC computer system (CHIEF). When IPAFFs is introduced charges will be based on the CHED PP number. However, the method by which the charges are calculated will remain consistent. 

The DUCR (or CHED PP) will cover the entire import of one consignment, from one exporter to one importer. Charges are raised for document, identity and physical checks and, where appropriate, the submission and diagnosis of samples. 

Document, Identity and Physical Checks 

We will charge one Documentary Check fee for each phytosanitary certificate included under the DUCR (or CHED PP) 

We will charge one physical inspection fee and one identity check fee for each ‘Commodity Group’ for each DUCR (or CHED PP). If there is more than one line on an application that falls within the same ‘Commodity Group’ then there will just be a single charge for that group. A ‘Commodity Group’ is each plant, plant product or other object description in column 1 of Schedule 1 in Annex 1. 

Where a consignment is subject to a reduced level of check, then the physical inspection and identity check fee is charged at the same percentage rate for that commodity e.g. In England and Wales, Roses from Kenya have a reduced inspection rate of 10% and so are charged 10% of £42.75 = £4.28 for the physical inspection and £0.52 for the identity check. The fee for the document check is charged in full since these are not subject to the same reduced level of check. 

Where consignments of the same commodity group contain material that is subject to reduced checks alongside the same commodity group that is not subject to reduced checks then a single charge is raised on the basis of the non-reduced check material. Where the consignment contains the same commodity group with a variety of reduced checks then the charge is levied at the level of the higher reduced check percentage. 

Charges for samples taken 

Where an inspector suspects that the consignment is infected with a controlled plant pest and takes a sample from the consignment for laboratory testing to confirm the presence or otherwise of the pest e.g. there is a fee of £147.35, in England and Wales, for each sample tested. Where the sample is taken for training purposes then a charge is not raised. 

How charges are invoiced 

Each consignment will receive a combined document, identity and physical inspection charge regardless of whether they are inspected. Invoices will be sent to the importer stated on the DUCR (or CHED PP) application. Each invoice will be laid out per application, with lines referring to the physical inspections per commodity group, the identity check, the documentary check and, if a sample was taken on suspicion of a pest and/or disease, a line will also appear on the invoice.  If an importer has done multiple applications within a week of each other, these application charges will appear on the same invoice but all will be itemised. 

The description of each line will be made up of the commodity groups stated in Schedule 1 of Annex 1., the application number, the customer reference if entered onto the application, and the post code of where the inspection took place. There is a 240 character limit on each line so if the description suddenly stops its due to this reason. 

Annex A: Application of Import Charges for Plant Health Services - Examples 

1)      One vehicle, containing goods within a single charging group (e.g.vegetables), covered by a single PC, entered under 1 DUCR/CHED: 

  • 1 x physical inspection fee (proportionate to the frequency of checks required) 

  • 1 x doc check fee 

  • 1 x ID check fee (proportionate to the frequency of checks required) 

 

2)      As above, but with goods covered by 5 PCs: 

  • 1 x physical inspection fee (proportionate to the frequency of checks required) 

  • 5 x doc check fee 

  • 1 x ID check fee (proportionate to the frequency of checks required)   

 

3)      As above, but with commodities from two different charging groups (e.g. cut flowers and vegetables): 

  • 2 x physical inspection fee, one for each charging group (proportionate to the frequency of checks required) 

  • 5 x doc check fee 

  • 2 x ID check fee, one for each charging group (proportionate to the frequency of checks required) 

 

4)      One vehicle, containing goods within a single charging group (e.g.vegetables), covered by two PCs for two separate importers and therefore entered under 2 DUCRs/CHEDs: 

  • 2 x physical inspection fee, one for each importer (proportionate to the frequency of checks required) 

  • 2 x doc check fee 

  • 2 x ID check fee, one for each importer (proportionate to the frequency of checks required) 

 

5)      Two vehicles, containing goods within a single charging group (e.g.vegetables), covered by a single PC, for the same importer and therefore entered on one DUCR/CHED: 

  • 1 x physical inspection fee (proportionate to the frequency of checks required) 

  • 1 x doc check fee 

  • 1 x ID check fee (proportionate to the frequency of checks required) 

 

6)      As above, entered over two separate DUCRs/CHEDs: 

  • 2 x physical inspection fee (proportionate to the frequency of checks required) 

  • 2 x doc check fee 

  • 2 x id check fee (proportionate to the frequency of checks required) 

 
 To see how much fees cost import inspection fees, please see the Indicative Fees for Plant Health Import Inspections in England and Wales from 22 July 2022.