News article

Brexit: Importing plants and plant products

13 February 2019

How to import plants and plant products from inside and outside the EU if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

Your business needs to prepare now for changes to rules and processes for importing plants and plant products in the event of a no deal Brexit.

What are plant and plant products?
‘Plant’ means a living plant (including a fungus or tree) or a living part of a plant (including a living part of a fungus or shrub), at any stage of growth.

‘Plant product’ means products of plant origin, unprocessed or having undergone simple preparation, in so far as these are not plants, including wood and bark.

Changes to imports from the EU
The majority of plants and plant products (including fruit, vegetables and cut flowers) imported from the EU will continue to enter the UK freely, as currently.

After the UK leaves the EU, any plants and plant products currently managed under the EU plant passport scheme will be subject to UK import controls. This replaces the EU plant passport’s assurance and traceability and maintains biosecurity.

Plant passporting is managed by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). You should contact DAERA for more information on landing imports directly into Northern Ireland.

If you import plants and plant products from the EU via England and Wales, you will need to register as an importer on the PEACH system.

Changes to imports from third countries via the EU
In a no deal scenario, the EU would no longer be obliged to carry out plant health checks on regulated third country goods going to the UK.

Plants and plant products that come from third countries via the EU without plant health checks by an EU member state, will be treated as third-country imports.

You must ensure that plant health checks are carried out on third-country material entering the UK via the EU by doing one of the following:

Notice periods for imports from third countries via the EU
You must give notice each time you bring a consignment of regulated goods to the UK from third countries for:

  • consignments brought in by air - 4 working hours
  • consignment being brought in by another route - 3 working days

Trade agreements

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be no implementation period. In this scenario, the government will seek to bring into force UK-third country agreements from exit day, or as soon as possible afterwards.

These new agreements will replicate existing EU agreements as far as possible. Where replacement trade agreements are not agreed, trade would take place on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms with that country. Details of each agreement will be shared with parliament and the public when they have been agreed.

Read the guidance on existing free trade agreements if there’s no Brexit deal.

Further information
GOV.UK has detailed guidance for businesses on importing plants and plant products in the event of a no deal exit from the EU. This covers topics including:

DAERA has local guidance on importing plants and plant products from the EU and third countries.