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BETA Your feedback will help us improve the UK Plant Health Information Portal

Pilot Overview

Pilot overview

Authorised Operator Status (AOS) for Plant Health Imports aims to allow the operator to carry out their own plant health physical and identity inspections, upon fulfilling certain criteria and requirements.   

This is a key proposal under the Border Target Operating Model published on 29 August 2023. 

The aim of the Pilot will be to test the approach of AOS to ensure that it:  

  • Allows commercial operators to perform certain import checks of their own consignments without compromising GB biosecurity; 
  • Widens potential import pathways for trade and matches import controls to business models; 
  • Delivers import controls that maintain like-for-like standards with plant health authority quality assured procedures; 
  • Meets the UK’s commitments set out in international obligations and agreements.

The pilot will test the approach of AOS to ensure it delivers its intended purpose, including to guarantee high standards for biosecurity checks on plant and plant product imports to GB.  

Participants will not be subject to AOS fees during the pilot.  However, if the pilot is successful, the AOS will be subject to fees on a cost recovery basis. The pilot will be used to collect data to calculate the fees. Statutory plant health fees for documentary, identity, and physical import inspections, will continue to apply for the participants of AOS during the pilot.  

Participating businesses and the UK Government will be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, demonstrating their commitment to fulfilling the agreed roles and responsibilities for the duration of the pilot. 

AOS pilot timeline

1 February 2024: AOS pilot online session. Register via Eventbrite.

6 February 2024: Expression of Interest (EOI) applications will open for eligible businesses to apply 

Midday 8 March 2024: Deadline for businesses to submit EOI applications  

Before the end of April 2024: Businesses will be notified of whether they have been accepted onto the pilot 

10 June - December 2024: AOS pilot will launch, with training running until August. APs will begin conducting examinations of consignments in August. Audits will be led by the Competent Authority from September 2024  

December 2024 – February 2025: Post-pilot Evaluation  

June 2025: Estimated roll out of AOS