What are the rules covering the imports of plants and plant products?

UK Government has issued guidance to businesses importing plants and plant products (for example, fruit, vegetables, seeds and young plants) from the EU and third countries.

From 1 January 2021 high priority plants and plant products will be subject to import checks and documents. These include a phytosanitary certificate, pre-notification of arrival submitted by the importer, documentary and identity checks, and a physical inspection (these can take place at the point of destination until 1 January 2022 when they will move to an authorised BCP).

Applications for phytosanitary certificates must be made via the relevant IT system; initially this will be eDomero before moving to the new EHCO system. Exporters should continue to use eDomero until advised to move to the new system.

Prenotification will initially be made via the PEACH system before moving to IPAFFS later in 2021; traders should register with PEACH and will be directed when to register for IPAFFS. Goods arriving by air or Roll-on Roll-off freight will required at least 4 working hours prenotification, all other modes of transport will require at least one working day.

There will be charges for these services, although inspection fees will not come into force until 1 June 2021. A full list of high priority plants is available here, and includes all plants for planting, ware potatoes, some seed and timber, and used agricultural or forestry machinery.

From 1 January 2022 controls will be extended to all regulated plants and plant products (which covers most fruit, vegetables and cut flowers). All regulated plants will require a phytosanitary certificate, prenotification, and documentary and identity checks. Importers will use the IPAFFS  system  to notify the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) or Forestry Commission that you are importing regulated plants/plant products. Nearly all plants and plant products are regulated, including most fruit, vegetables, and cut flowers; a list of specific exemptions is available here.

From 1 March 2022 checks will be extended to regulated plants and plant products and physical inspections will take place at Border Control Points.

The UK will not prohibit the import of plants normally classed as prohibited or high risk from the EU.

Further information on plant passports can be found here.