The NFU has welcomed a commitment from Defra to expand the Movement Assistance Scheme which helps traders moving agri-food goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. This announcement follows calls from the NFU for additional support for traders.
What is the Movement Assistance Scheme?
The Movement Assistance Scheme was set up to help traders navigate and finance the new requirements which apply to agri-food goods moving from GB to NI because of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The Northern Ireland Protocol has been in place since the end of the UK’s EU exit transition period on 31 December 2020. Under the protocol, goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain are subject to certain controls including the requirement for goods to meet EU sanitary and phytosanitary controls.
The scheme already offers financial support towards some of the direct costs of checking and issuing Export Health Certificates (EHCs), Phytosanitary Certificates (PCs) and Certificates of Inspection (COIs) which are needed for organic goods. This announcement confirms that the scheme will run until the 31 December 2023.
What are the changes?
Since 1 July, the expanded scheme includes support for:
- Scrapie testing of sheep – necessary under the Northern Ireland Protocol for any live sheep moving from GB to NI to ensure they comply with EU animal health requirements. Get more detailed information on the support offered: Information on funding for scrapie testing for sheep moving to Northern Ireland
- Audit inspection costs incurred to register with PHEATS (Plant Health Exports Audited Trader Scheme) and ongoing audit costs, relevant for the export of fruit, vegetables and cut flowers from GB to NI.
From 1 August, the scheme will be further expanded to include financial support for:
- ISTA (International Seed Testing Association) sample testing and certification required for all individual seed lots traded GB to NI.
- Exporters in GB who move organics solely to Northern Ireland, and Northern Irish importers who face new costs to receive these goods from Great Britain (from 1 August).
How is the NFU working for members on this issue?
While these provisions will provide welcome support to the industry, long term solutions are still needed. The NFU will continue to call for the UK Government and the European Commission to proactively work together to seek pragmatic solutions, which recognise our shared regulatory foundations and protect peace on the island of Ireland.
Defra has produced a Frequently Asked Questions document with information about the Movement Assistance Scheme and how to access support.