Northern Ireland - Arrangements for Sending Plants & Plant Products

24 December Update

In this bulletin –

  • 3 month supermarket easement
  • Movement Assistance Scheme
  • Trader Support Service

Authorised Supermarket Traders – Plants & other products

If you are supplying products of animal origin (POAO), composite products, food and feed not of animal origin, and plants and plant products into supermarkets in Northern Ireland then you should register as an approved supplier BEFORE 28th DECEMBER.

By registering & receiving approval as an authorised supplier you can take advantage of being able to self-certify the products above without the need for obtaining a phytosanitary certificate from the authorities. This easement will last for 3 months.

The form to apply as an authorised trader is a simple 2 page form and can be found here. Once filled in email it to Defra at they will then respond letting you know if you have attained approval, or if you have been refused.  You can also email queries relating to this scheme to that email address.

You must apply an officially worded label to the goods at pallet level, with the words “These products from the United Kingdom may not be marketed outside Northern Ireland”.

Garden Centres are unfortunately not within scope of this easement, so if you supply garden centres with plants you will likely not receive authorisation if you apply. However, if you supply food products or pet food supplies to a garden centre then you will likely be able to use this easement. It is worth sending the form in, because if you obtain authorisation you won’t need to obtain a phytosanitary certificate from an inspector. Also you might be able to get authorisation if you supply veg plants for retailing, for example.

Please note, export prohibitions on plants & plant products will still remain in place, so you must adhere to the regulations. Further info on those export prohibitions can be found on Defra’s Plant Health Portal

Full information on the easement can be found here

Movement Assistance Scheme for NI

When you send plants & plant products to Northern Ireland (NI) from1 January you will be required to obtain a phytosanitary certificate (PC), as with all plant exports into the EU plant health area (of which NI will be part of). There is only 1 exception to this, and this is the 3 month grace period for supermarket suppliers whereby you wont need to obtain a PC for your plants.

In order to help with the costs of this, the UK government has announced a scheme where businesses will not be charged for obtaining a PC if sending goods to NI.

There is also a helpline 03300 471 6580 operating Monday to Friday, 9-5. It is available 16 December to 24 December, 29 to 31 December, 4 January onwards. The helpline will advise on obtaining PCs for export.

You will still need to book an inspection 7 days in advance and obtain a PC according to the EU plant health regulations. Prohibitions and restrictions will still be in place, however once you have your PC you will not be charged a fee for obtaining it. You do not need to apply to have the fee waived, the cost will be borne by the inspectorate.

The MAS (Movement Assistance Scheme) is scheduled to run for an indefinite period, but certainly initially for 2021 when there will be a review. It also covers live animals, products of animal origin (POAO), composite products, food and feed not of animal origin, and plants and plant products (known as agri-food products).

It covers products being sold only into Northern Ireland.

Further information can be found here

Trader Support Service for NI

Make sure that if you trade with or have a business in Northern Ireland that you have registered for the Trader Support Service (TSS)

The TSS will raise customs declarations on your behalf, for free. However they will not help with plant health arrangements. See below for further info.

Trading Plants into Northern Ireland

If you’re a business in Northern Ireland and you want to import plants from GB you must register with the EU plant pre-notification system TRACES-NT and prenotify your plant order through that. DAERA have issued a training video on how to use TRACES-NT.

NI authorities have been very busy constructing Points of Entry (PoE) inspection points. Plants are allowed to enter NI through most of the PoEs, although Belfast Port is probably the best one to use as others don’t have covered inspection facilities therefore inspections take place on the quay.

They have a stated intention to inspection 100% of all plant imports at the PoE, as per Eu plant health regulations.

Detailed information on processes to do with plants can be found here 

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