Guidance for HTA Members

December 2018


This information note for HTA members gives a summary of Defra guidance on how to trade in plants and plant products inside and outside the EU if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal.  Whilst the Government is still hopeful of concluding a withdrawal agreement and transition period HTA members are urged to consider preparing for a no deal scenario. Further information is available from the website.

After the UK leaves the EU:

  • Businesses will have to register for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. HTA recommends members to register with HMRC through the HMRC section on
  • Ensure contracts and terms and conditions reflect that the fact that the business is now importing and/or exporting.
  • Determine whether an export licence will be required.
  • Consider how they will submit import and/or export declarations, including whether to use a customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider. If businesses decide to submit declarations themselves they will need to get the appropriate software and secure the necessary authorisations from HMRC.
  • Decide the correct classification for goods.
  • Pay relevant VAT and import duties.
  • Businesses should read the relveant part of HMRC's 'Partnership Pack'
  • Partnership Pack for No Deal


‘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.

Importing plants and plant products from the EU

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. When you import controlled plants or plant products, you’ll need to:

  • register as an importer using the PEACH website for England and Wales
  • the process is different if you’re in Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • provide pre-arrival notification using the PEACH website
  • make sure a controlled consignment enters the UK with a phytosanitary certificate (PC) issued in the country of export (or re-export). The PC must be issued no more than 14 days from date of export.
  • upload scanned copies of your PC and other relevant documents (for example bill of landing, cargo movement request, or delivery company invoice to the PEACH website) at least 3 working days before the consignment reaches the UK border.
  • supply the original copy of the PC within 3 days of your consignment reaching the UK via post.

Notice periods for imports

You must give notice to the relevant plant health authority each time you bring a consignment to the UK for:

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

How to register timber products for import

You must inform the Forestry Commission.


Step by Step Guide

Below is a step by step guide to importing in the event of a no deal, as published in October 2018 by the Government

No Deal Guide to Importing Plants


Further detailed information can be found on the Government web pages 

How will border checks be carried out

Plant and plant products originating in the EU will not be stopped at the border.

The relevant UK plant health authority will carry out their checks remotely. This will be a virtual check using the documents submitted as part of the pre-notification and will not require the goods to stop inland. These checks would be charged for by the plant health authority. You will also be charged for any Forestry Commission checks.

Plant health inspectors will continue to carry out follow-up surveillance and inspections inland in line with current policies. The government does not charge for such inspections.

You can prepare by:

Importing plants and plant products 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 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.

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-controlled material arriving in the UK via RoRo ports requiring checks will have to go to 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 and other facilities as authorised for Plant Health control and listed within PEACH.

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:

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 29 March 2019.

To import third-country material that need plant health checks in the UK via RoRo ports, you’ll 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 PoFA form
  • give notice of a consignment’s arrival and its location to the plant health authority using the PEACH website or 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

Follow these steps to prepare your premises for PoFA:

  1. Register on the PEACH website or with the Forestry Commission as a registered trader if you are in England or Wales.
  2. Apply for your premises to be authorised as a PoFA.
  3. Speak to suppliers about whether the plants and plant products they import from the EU may need third country checks in the UK after Brexit.
  4. Consider using alternative authorised points of entry that avoid RoRo ports.
  5. Keep up to date with the HMRC Partnership Pack full list of authorised points of entry.
  6. Follow importer rules if you are in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Exporting plants and plant products to the EU

For exports to the EU third-country rules will apply on all:

When you export controlled plants and plant products to third countries, you need to:

  • check whether a phytosanitary certificate (PC) is required by contacting the plant health authority or a plant health inspector in the destination country
  • apply for a PC from the relevant UK plant health authority before export
  • check if your plants require laboratory testing of samples to ensure they are free from pests and diseases or inspections during the growing season

Contact your local plant health inspector to find out if your plants need these tests before exporting.

Controlled plant and plant products exports to the EU from the UK may be subject to checks at the EU border.

Steps to take now to prepare for EU Exit

To prepare for EU exit you need to:

  • check with the plant health authority in the destination country to find out if consignments need a PC
  • use the export plants, seeds, bulbs and wood guidance on EU plant health import requirements to help you prepare your export correctly
  • contact local UK plant health inspector for advice
  • exporters in England and Wales can register for the eDomero IT system or with the Forestry Commission as a registered trader - exporters in Scotland and Northern Ireland should refer to local guidance

Movement of wood packaging material

Wood packaging material (WPM) moving between the UK and the rest of the EU can currently move freely without checks or controls. In the event of no deal, all WPM moving between the UK and the EU must meet ISPM15 international standards by undergoing heat treatment and marking. All WPM may be subject to official checks either upon or after entry to the EU.

Moving controlled plants and plant products within the UK

Plant and plant products currently covered by EU plant passports will be managed now when moved within the UK.

When moving controlled plants in the UK, you’ll need to:

  • register with the relevant UK plant health authority
  • be authorised to issue plant passports
  • replace references to ‘EU’ with ‘UK’ when issuing plant passports



For more information, please contact Sally Cullimore, HTA Policy Executive via e-mail on