New scheme supporting trade with Northern Ireland to launch in October

A photo of haulage lorries waiting at a port

Photo: iStockPhoto

The Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme, or in short NIRMS, which will facilitate the flow of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, will launch on 1 October 2023. 

The new scheme, which is replacing the current STAMNI (Scheme for Temporary Agrifood Movements into Northern Ireland) programme, establishes a new way to move prepacked retail goods from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.

Businesses moving goods under the new scheme will take advantage of the new green lane arrangements that were agreed within the Windsor Framework.

Under the new scheme, qualifying goods will not require supporting documentation approved by official vet or plant health inspectors to be moved to Northern Ireland. A single ‘General Certificate’ for eligible consignments, which will be supported by a packing list.

Full guidance on the scheme can be found at: GOV.UK | Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme: how the scheme will work

What businesses are eligible to use the scheme? 

Businesses that are selling or facilitating the movement of pre-packaged food for final consumption in Northern Ireland can benefit from the new scheme.

Plants, plants for planting (including seed for planting) such as pot plants, bulbs and tubers, are not eligible to be moved through NIRMS. These products will move from Great Britain to Northern Ireland using a Northern Ireland Plant Health Label. Further guidance on how this will work is yet to be announced.

Fruit, vegetables (including ware potatoes), cut flowers and foliage (including cut Christmas trees and wreaths) that fit into the below categories can be moved through NIRMS: 

  • All Great Britain origin products
  • All Northern Ireland products processed in Great Britain
  • All EU origin products

Bulk loads (e.g. carrots or ware potatoes) of pre-packed retail bags moving for the following purposes are eligible for the scheme:

  • Retailers selling finished goods to end consumers
  • Hospitality venues
  • Those providing food to the public sector
  • Wholesalers supplying smaller retail outlets
  • Businesses operating factory canteens

Products from the rest of the world can be moved through NIRMS, provided they fall into the following categories:

  • Products which are unregulated by both the UK and EU (coconut, banana, durian, pineapple and dates)
  • Products where Great Britain’s plant health import requirements match that of the EU:
    • Vegetables: onions, shallots, garlic, cauliflowers, broccoli. peas, beans peppers, pumpkins, squash and gourds, sweetcorn, sweet potatoes and asparagus
    • Fruit: tomatoes, avocados, grapes, melons, watermelons, apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, mulberries, loganberries, blueberries, cranberries and ginger
  • Products cleared at EU Border Control Posts for the internal EU market before moving to Great Britain (e.g. in Rotterdam, or if moving from Morocco through the EU, cleared in the EU before moving to Great Britain)
  • Products that were processed in Great Britain, (e.g. ready meals or fruit salads)
  • Products which do not require certification or controls for example processed or canned fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, flour and wine.

Reductions in checks

From 1 October 2023, under NIRMS the level of visual identification checks at borders will be reduced.

Check on consignments will be reduced to 10% from the launch of the new scheme, before being lowered to 8% in October 2024 and reduced further to 5% in July 2025.

More on trade from NFUonline:

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