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

Plants and Seeds

From the 1st October 2023 instead of applying a phytosanitary certificate to consignments moving from GB to NI, authorised operators in GB are able to attach a NI Plant Health Label (NIPHL).  

The NIPHL differs from the phytosanitary certificate in that it is issued and applied by the authorised operator. Rather than applying for a phytosanitary certificate for each consignment, businesses can become authorised with their relevant competent authority to issue and attach NIPHLs themselves. 

Some plants continue to be classified as high-risk in NI legislation and must not be moved from GB to NI. If you intend to move plants from GB to NI you must check the list of plants here to see which are prohibited.

Defra continue to work with industry to overturn such prohibitions, though the submission and assessment of technical dossiers. Please see here for updates on this work.  Where prohibitions have been overturned, such species can move GB-NI, subject to satisfactory authorisation to issue NIPHLs.   If you wish to move any high-risk plant species from GB to NI which currently remain prohibited, please contact UKNPPO@defra.gov.uk.

High-level Process Map 

To support businesses and their decision-making, please find a link to an end-to-end process map that identifies the necessary steps GB operators are required to complete to move plants for planting including seeds from GB to NI. 

Registration and authorisation 

All operators intending to move plants for planting, seed potatoes and used agricultural and forestry machinery to NI using a NIPHL are required to be both registered and authorised with the relevant competent authority. Operators should only be registered with one competent authority in GB. Which competent authority (APHA/SASA) will depend on the location of your business premises. 

If you are based in England or Wales, you must register with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). If you are based in Scotland, register with Scottish Government by emailing NIPHLenquiries@gov.scot 

If you are already registered as a professional operator, you may need to provide supplementary information including informing the competent authority that you wish to be registered for NIPHL. You are already registered as a professional operator if you: 

  • are authorised to issue UK plant passports 

  • are registered on the Seed Potato Classification Scheme (SPCS) 

  • are a registered seed company 

  • have previously exported any goods regulated for plant health purposes, including used agricultural and forestry machinery and vehicles 

Any operator involved in the movement of plants and seed for planting from GB to NI using a NIPHL is required to be authorised. An authorisation number is needed to complete the notification process before the goods arrive in NI.  

The registration process is completed once and only needs to be updated if there are changes in circumstances or details.  

Unlike registrationauthorisation will need to be completed on an annual basis and requires operators to provide more details about their business and the goods they intend to move. This can be completed by operators in England and Wales by filling out the e-form here. Scottish businesses should contact the plant health authority using the contact details provided below. 

If you cannot access the e-form to become registered and authorised please use the details provided below to contact the relevant plant health agency or local inspector. 

Operators should then complete the online eLearning module NIPHL: plants and seeds for planting. This module is currently being developed and we will inform you when it is ready. If you are unable to complete the eLearning before 1st October it will not impact on your ability to move goods with a NIPHL. 

Following the successful application to become authorised and following the completion of the eLearning module, the relevant plant health agency will contact you to advise on what official inspections you will require based on your business model and goods you move. 

Growing Season Inspections 

Growing Season Inspections (GSI) are required for all authorised operators growing plants. 

Pre-movement  

Authorised operators are responsible for conducting examinations of the goods they intend to move to NI and ensure they meet all pest and disease requirements prescribed for NI. 

For guidance and requirements on specific pests and pathogensplease refer to the NIPHL pest and disease page for resources to support your business and ensure the person responsible for each consignment understand the symptoms and what to look out for. 

Format of the NIPHL 

The NIPHL for plants and seeds is based on the current UK plant passport, there is an example for reference below. 

UK Flag – the UK flag must be printed in the top left corner of the NIPHL label. It can be in colour or black and white. 

Northern Ireland Plant Health Label heading – The label must clearly state Northern Ireland Plant Health Label’ to indicate what the label is and ‘for use in the UK only’. 

Part A: botanical names  

You must include the botanical names of the plants or plant material. This should be a full genus and species name.  

A genus name is only acceptable on its own if the species name is not known. Variety or cultivar names are optional. 

Part B: NIPHL registration number 

You must include your NIPHL registration number. This number is given to you in your email confirming you have been given authorisation by APHA or Scottish Government. 

Part C: Traceability code 

You must include a traceability code which links to your records. This can be an existing code used to trace or identify a consignment. For example, it could be an individual serial, week, batch or invoice number. 

Part D: QR code - compliance statement 

All NIPHLs must give assurance you have met the requirements set out in EU legislation 2023/1231. This is done by printing the QR code and putting it in Part D of your NIPHL. The QR code links to the Windsor Framework requirements. Following confirmation of authorisation, APHA/SASA will provide operators with a copy of the QR code. 

If it is not practical to use the QR code for a NIPHL, authorised operators can print an NIPHL with text from the Windsor Framework. This should only be done in exceptional circumstances. The QR code should be used unless there is a good reason not to. 

If you must print an NIPHL without a QR code, including when authorised to do so for seed potato NIPHLs, check with your local inspector for details of the statement to include. 

 

 Attachment of the NIPHL 

  • Just like a UK plant passport the NIPHL must be attached to the consignment which could be the ‘smallest tradeable unit. This could be on a plant pot, tray, trolley or pallet so long as the consignment is homogenous, has the same origin and is not broken up enroute to that destination. A homogenous consignment does not mean all the same species but that the consignment is uniform e.g. there can be multiple species in 25kg bags, but a pallet of those bags would only need one NIPHL. 

  • The NIPHL can only be issued and attached by an authorised NIPHL operator.  

  • The label needs to be visible and clearly legible 

  • Distinguishable from any other information or label which may also be attached to the consignment. The NIPHL must take the form of a distinct label. It may be printed on a care label, pot or trolley but it should be distinct from any other label or information contained on the consignment.  

Pre-notification 

The NIPHL scheme requires the NI consignee/ to have filled out a CHEDPP a minimum of 4 hours before the goods arrive in NI. CHEDPPs are Common Health Entry Documents that provide DAERA with the information that allows for risk-based checks to occur at point of entry. It is important that the correct information regarding the consignment be provided to the NI consignee by the GB authorised operator. Failure to do so could result in goods being held up or returned to GB. 

A pro-forma and guidance on all the information the NI consignee requires from the GB authorised operator can be found on gov.uk.

For more information on CHEDPPs please follow this link to the DAERA webpage. 

Arrival at point of entry 

DAERA will complete documentary checks on all CHEDPPs for NIPHL consignments. The details on the CHEDPP will be cross checked with the NIPHL details attached to the CHEDPP. The GB Authorised Operator details provided on the NIPHL pre-notification form attached to the CHEDPP, including the NI Professional Operator details, will be checked to confirm meeting NIPHL scheme requirements. NIPHL consignments must present for official controls at the SPS inspection facility of first arrival in NI. DAERA will perform ID and physical checks in line with NIPHL scheme rules and legislative requirements. 

Constraints 

  • On entry into NI professional operators are reminded that these goods must remain in the UK and cannot be moved directly into the Republic of Ireland. 

  • Marketing regulations are unaffected by the Windsor Framework. Therefore current requirements e.g. ISTA certification still apply for movements to NI. 

Contacts 

England and Wales 

APHA CIT Plants 
Foss House 
King’s Pool 
1-2 Peasholme Green 
York  YO1 7PX 

Telephone: 0300 1000 313 

Scotland 

Contact by email for: 

 

Northern Ireland 

Contact the DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch: 

Plant and tree health department 

Telephone: 0300 200 7847