Retail Movement Scheme: how the scheme will work

Guide

Last updated 4 September 2023

Businesses can now register for the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme (NIRMS). If you have pre-registered, you can review and confirm your information to register.

The Windsor Framework establishes a new way to move pre packed retail goods from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) into Northern Ireland.

It’s called the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme (ReMoS). The scheme will start on 1 October 2023, replacing the existing Scheme for Temporary Agrifood Movements into Northern Ireland (STAMNI) from that point.

UK public health and safety and consumer protection standards will apply for all retail food and drink in the UK internal market, including rules on:

  • public health
  • fisheries
  • marketing
  • organics
  • labelling
  • genetic modification
  • drinks such as wines, spirits and mineral waters

Where relevant, these goods will still need to meet EU standards on animal and plant health.

Businesses moving goods under the scheme will be able to benefit from the new green lane arrangements provided for in the Windsor Framework. This means that businesses will:

  • avoid extensive and costly certification and assurance processes
  • be able to move products that meet UK public health, organics and fisheries rules

Under these arrangements, goods will move on the basis of a single General Certificate for eligible consignments, supported by a packing list.

There will be no need for an official vet to approve the documentation. Instead, goods will move on the basis of a trader declaration under the authority of the UK competent authority.

These arrangements and the underlying standards on which the scheme will operate will ensure that consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland will have access to the same goods as the rest of the UK.

Movements which do not qualify under the scheme will move through the red lane. the government will continue to provide support through the Digital Assistance Scheme, and should goods remain in Northern Ireland, the Movement Assistance Scheme.

Business eligibility

All businesses responsible for selling or facilitating the movement of food for final consumption in Northern Ireland are eligible to benefit from these simplified arrangements. This includes:

  • retailers selling finished goods to end consumers
  • hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants
  • those providing food to the public sector – for example schools, hospitals and prisons
  • wholesalers supplying smaller retail outlets
  • businesses operating factory canteens

This expands the eligibility of the scheme considerably beyond STAMNI, capturing a much broader range of traders.

Unlike STAMNI, businesses will be able to join ReMoS on an ongoing basis.

Registration

Qualifying traders and businesses can now register for the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme (NIRMS), or conclude pre-registered applications.

Traders will only need to register once, alongside accepting the scheme terms and conditions.

Registration is a simple online process. Traders will need to provide:

  • their type of business
  • departure and arrival establishments in both Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • a UK Food Business Operator registration number
  • contact information

Businesses in Great Britain can register establishments in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Businesses in Northern Ireland can only register establishments in Northern Ireland.

Scheme for Temporary Agrifood Movements into Northern Ireland (STAMNI)

ReMoS will replace the existing STAMNI arrangements from 1 October 2023.

Businesses currently registered with STAMNI will be eligible for the new scheme. Defra will contact all those currently registered about moving seamlessly into ReMoS.

ReMoS: movement requirements

Information about the processes that are part of ReMoS. Detailed guidance will be provided in July 2023.

Certification

The end-to-end process for moving goods will be straightforward for businesses. In designing the arrangements, the government is drawing on existing industry standards and common practices. As such, businesses should not need to make new investments in their IT and digital infrastructure to join the scheme.

Data requirements will also be as straightforward as possible, allowing flexibility to integrate with different business models (including flexibility in the format of commercial packing lists).

The General Certificate will be accessible to traders on the existing Export Health Certificate Online (EHCO) portal after registration opens on 1 September 2023.

Seals

Scheme members will be required to seal each load with an official seal approved by the Competent Authority.

Channelling

As under the STAMNI scheme, there will be a requirement for the Northern Ireland consignee to confirm receipt of the goods within 48 hours to the Northern Ireland Competent Authority.

More detailed guidance will be provided in July 2023.

Controls

Under the scheme, there will be a significant reduction in the level of visual identification checks compared to the existing 100% level of checks under STAMNI.

They will start at 10% in October 2023, reduce to 8% in October 2024 and reduce further to 5% in July 2025.

There will also not be any set physical check levels on goods moved under the ReMoS scheme. Any physical checks will, as is the case now, be based solely on risk assessments, conducted by UK authorities. These will be targeting the abuse of new arrangements, or specific risks to animal, plant or human health.

Labelling requirements

To avoid onward movements of goods into the EU, proportionate labelling requirements will be applied. These will be introduced on a phased basis, beginning in October 2023 and concluding in July 2025.

The government will be providing financial support to help operators to adapt to these new requirements in the first phase of the scheme in October 2023.

Further information about this is set out in the labelling guidance.

Product eligibility

In addition to expanding the range of businesses who can benefit from the green lane, and reducing the process for goods moved within it, the Windsor Framework also allows a broader range of goods to move into Northern Ireland than would have been possible under the original Northern Ireland Protocol.

Processes that will change for certain goods include:

  • prohibitions and restrictions on products such as seasoned lamb joints and British sausages have been removed, meaning that meat preparations can move under the General Certificate rather than being certified separately
  • wine will no longer require VI-1 certificates
  • organic produce will be subject to UK public health and marketing rules

Goods will no longer need to be produced to EU public health or consumer protection standards if they are moving to Northern Ireland under the scheme - they can be produced to the relevant UK standards. For example, goods containing the ordinary food whitener, titanium dioxide, will again be able to move to Northern Ireland.

Lists of goods that can be moved under the scheme

Goods falling into the following categories will be automatically eligible to move:

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

In addition, the scheme will also enable a broad range of goods from the rest of the world to move into Northern Ireland, maintaining the same products on the shelves as in Great Britain. This includes:

  • products travelling through EU Border Control Posts before moving to Great Britain, for example transiting through Rotterdam or moving from Morocco through the EU to the UK
  • products processed in Great Britain, for example products turned into ready meals or fruit salads
  • products that have no SPS requirements, for example tinned fish, bananas, pineapples, durian, coconuts, pasta, noodles and couscous (except for when they contain meat products, for example meat filled pasta or couscous and noodles mixed with meat), bread, cakes, biscuits, waffles, soup stocks and flavourings and confectionery (including sweets), chocolate and other food preparations containing cocoa
  • products which do not require certification or controls for example processed or canned fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, flour and wine
  • fisheries products that come from countries specified in the EU IUU implementing regulations
  • products where the UK is taking the same approach as the EU to protect against the same pests and diseases; this should include:

    • Meat: fresh, chilled or frozen New Zealand lamb; pet food and dog chews
    • 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

Further guidance

The government will continue to work closely with traders as the ReMoS arrangements are developed. This will include further detailed guidance on these and other arrangements that begin in October 2023.

The government will be running a series of webinars over the summer to increase awareness and understanding of the scheme.

If you would like to lodge an interest in joining the scheme, please email niretailmovementschemeregistration@defra.gov.uk.

If you would like further information or want to lodge interest in joining the scheme, please email traders@defra.gov.uk.