News article

Brexit: Importing plants and plant products

7 February 2020


How to import plants and plant products from inside and outside the EU after the transition period

Find out how to import plants, fruit, vegetables and plant materials to the UK from third countries and how to import and export wood and timber products using the current rules.

Importing plants and plant products from third countries via the EU

The EU will not have to carry out plant health checks on regulated third-country goods going to the UK from 1 January 2021.

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.

Many plants and plant products entering the UK via the EU arrive at fast-moving roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ports where checks at the border would create significant disruptions to traffic. All third-country plant health regulated material arriving in the UK via RoRo ports requiring checks will have to go to a plant health approved facility for inspection.

These facilities include:

  • Place of First Arrival (PoFA) - trade premises that have been authorised to host plant health controls on third country material entering the UK via the EU at RoRo ports
  • other facilities that have been authorised for Plant Health control (‘alternative inspection posts’)

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:

You will be charged for checks on third country plant health material by the relevant plant health authority.

How to register as a place of first arrival

You may need to speak to suppliers about whether the plants and plant products they import from third countries are likely to move to the UK via the EU. Consider whether to apply for PoFA status before 1 January 2021.

To import third-country material that need plant health checks in the UK via RoRo ports, you’ll need to have access to a PoFA. You can register your own PoFA by:

  • reading the PoFA standards and take any necessary steps to ensure your premises meet the requirements
  • applying to be authorised by the relevant plant health authority - you’ll need to complete the relevant PoFA form for plant and plant products or for wood and timber products

To bring in material for checks at an authorised PoFA, you will need to:

  • read the PoFA standards and take any necessary steps to ensure your premises meet the requirements
  • apply to be authorised by the relevant plant health authority - you’ll need to complete the relevant PoFA form for plant and plant products or for wood and timber products.
  • for goods that are entering the UK via a RoRo port in England or Wales, give notice of a consignment’s arrival and its location to the plant health authority using the PEACH website
  • for goods that are entering the UK via a RoRo port in Scotland or Northern Ireland, give notice to the relevant plant health authority
  • for regulated wood, wood products or bark, complete a Notice of Landing form for Forestry Commission checks
  • hold consignments at your premises until the plant health authority has carried out its checks and released the goods

Preparing your premises for Place of First Arrival (PoFA) approval

If your goods are entering the UK at a RoRo port in England or Wales, follow these steps to prepare your premises for PoFA:

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

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.

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