Plant health import checks and fees from 22 July 2022

First published: 25 July 2022

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Following work by the NFU and other industry stakeholders, Defra has introduced two important changes that will bring a reduction in costs for plant businesses importing material from abroad.

UK Plant Health Services introduced a new regime for the frequency of plant health import inspection checks and associated fees on 22 July 2022.

Inspection and identity fees

A substantial reduction to the import inspection and identity fees for plants for planting and cuttings that originate from EU and non-EU countries sees a new flat-rate of £32.15 for physical inspection fees and £1.57 for identity check fees. This represents a significant cost saving for plant businesses importing material from abroad.

New risk-based regime

Defra has implemented a new risk-based inspection regime intended to ensure import check frequencies are appropriate to the degree of risk posed by certain imported commodities. This change is intended to align inspection rates between products from EU and non-EU countries, allowing for an appropriate reduction in the volume of import inspections on non-EU produce for planting. You can see a list of the proposed frequency of checks for plants, plant products and other objects at the Defra website: Gov.uk | Plant Health Portal | Proposed checks

More information

Read more about the changes at the Defra website: Gov.uk | Plant Health Portal | Changes to the frequencies of plant health checks and associated fees for imports into Great Britain

NFU work on this issue

The NFU has been working on behalf of growers since post-Brexit progressive controls were first introduced.

We highlighted the significant issues with the introduction of inspection fees and called for pragmatic solutions and the need for a more fairly balanced risk-based approach to inspections. We escalated our members' concerns to the highest levels within Defra, raising it directly with Secretary of State George Eustice and Chief Plant Health Officer Nicola Spence.

We highlighted the need for an expedited review of the fees system, with interim support measures in place. In April 2022, in response to our campaigning, the government announced the temporary introduction of a flat-rate inspection fee while it continued to assess the plant import process post-Brexit.

You can read more about this work in the articles below.

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