Movement Assistance Scheme: get help with moving agrifood goods to Northern Ireland
Movement Assistance Scheme: Advice for traders
Last updated 4 April 2022
The Movement Assistance Scheme means that if you're a trader moving agrifood goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, you do not need to pay for:
- some inspections
- some certificates
- the full cost of testing for scrapie disease
The scheme will close at the end of December 2023.
The following types of goods are included in the Movement Assistance Scheme:
- live animals and animal products
- plants and plant products
- organic products
- some categories of high risk food and feed not of animal origin
There is separate guidance if you inspect and certify these goods (for example if you're an official veterinarian).
The scheme also covers movements to Northern Ireland via the Republic of Ireland.
Live animals and animal products
If you move live animals or animal products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, you do not need to pay the full amount for export health certificates (EHCs).
If you’re a trader and have been told by your certifying officer to get a support attestation (SA) you can get reimbursed for some of the costs.
You’ll need to pay the invoice and then apply to MAS to be reimbursed. The government will reimburse you up to £150 excluding VAT for each SA. Follow guidance on how to get reimbursed for support attestations.
If you need help with costs of SAs
For queries related to SAs, please contact APHA by email or phone.
Telephone: 0208 026 5644
Test for scrapie disease
To get an EHC for sheep, you must carry out the test for scrapie disease. The OV will need to see the results of the tests before they can authorise the certification. You do not need to pay the full cost of the scrapie genotype test.
OVs and other official certifiers will not charge you for inspecting and certifying your goods. Instead, they can invoice the government for the costs of the certificate and scrapie test, up to a set amount.
If you have scrapie qualifying status
Some of the costs of scrapie qualifying status (SQS) are covered by MAS. These include the:
- annual membership fee paid to Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)
- cost of vet providing annual flock inspection up to £150 excluding VAT
- costs associated with fallen stock, including scrapie testing, carcass collection and carcass disposal
You must pay the company that collects the fallen stock and the processing site. You can claim the money back from the government using the SQS reimbursement application form.
Guidance on moving animals and animal products
Read guidance on the requirements you need to meet when moving animals and products of animal origin:
- live animals and animal products
- animals and semen, ova and embryos (germplasm) for research, display and conservation
- fish for human consumption
- live fish and fishery products
- wild caught marine fishery products
- composite food products
- endangered species
Plants or plant products
If your business is moving plants or plant products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, you do not need to pay for the phytosanitary certificates (PCs). Government inspectors will not charge you for inspecting and certifying your goods.
If you move fruit, vegetables or cut flowers from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, you may be eligible for the plant health exports audited trader scheme (PHEATS). This means you’ll be able to do your own inspections and apply for phytosanitary certificates to be issued.
You do not need to pay for:
- an inspection fee when you first register with PHEATS
- auditing or monitoring fees (charged per audit)
You can get financial support for International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) sample testing and certification. You need both of these to move individual seed lots from Great Britain to Northern Ireland
Read guidance on the requirements you need to meet when moving plants and plant products.
If your business moves organic products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, you do not need to pay for a certificate of inspection (COI). Organic control bodies will not charge you for inspecting and certifying the goods. Instead, they can invoice the government for the costs.
Use the Trade Control and Expert System NT (Traces NT) to apply for COIs.
You’ll pay a registration fee when you register with an organic control body that’s based in the UK. If you intend to move goods outside of Great Britain, you’ll need to pay for an exporter licence. If you’re a business based in Northern Ireland and you receive goods from Great Britain, you’ll need to pay for an importer licence.
You may receive financial help from the government for importer and exporter licensing costs you incur to:
- move organics from Great Britain solely to Northern Ireland
- receive organics in Northern Ireland solely from Great Britain
This is because before the UK and EU implemented the Northern Ireland Protocol, you would not have incurred these costs.
You’ll need to pay the full registration fee to an organic control body and then claim back the importer and exporter cost one year after you paid your registration fee.
Read guidance on the requirements you need to meet when moving organic products.
High risk food and feed not of animal origin (HRFNAO)
If your business moves the following categories of high risk food and feed not of animal origin from Great Britain to Northern Ireland you do not need to pay for a certificate or lab sampling costs:
- Annex 2 of regulation 2019/1793
- products originating from countries listed in Annex 1 of regulation 2020/1158
Local authorities will not charge you for inspecting and certifying the goods.
Read guidance on the requirements you need to meet when moving high risk food not of animal origin products.
Contact the MAS helpline
Contact the MAS helpline for advice on paying for certificates or inspections.
Telephone: 0330 0416 580
Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00 on weekdays (excluding bank holidays)
First published 8 April 2021