The Aerona Guide to:

Importing and exporting plants and plant material

Importing plants from within the EU

You can import any plant material from countries within the European Union to the UK, but in order to do so the plants or plant material must meet the following criteria:

  • They are grown in a EU country
  • They are free from pests and diseases
  • They are for your own personal use.

If you are importing fruit, vegetables and plant products into the EU and UK, there are strict controls and guidelines on what can be imported.  The obvious reasons for the control are the diseases and pests that the plants and vegetables can carry across borders.

Within the EU, you can import any plant products, provided they are grown in a EU country, provided they are free from pests and diseases and that they are for your own use or consumption.  There are of course exceptions to these general rules – the most important of which is that you are not allowed to import any of the following if they are intended for planting:

  • Plants and seeds of Fraxinus (Ash) and Castanea (Sweet chestnut);
  • Plants of Platanus (Plane)

Importing plants from outside the EU

If you are importing from outside the EU, many products are either banned completely or are restricted by weight and quantity.  If you are importing restricted products in large quantities it is important to obtain the relevant Phytosanitary document from the plant health authorities in the country of origin to show the products is free from pests and diseases.

Exporting plants to outside the EU

Just as the importer of restricted plants, fruit and vegetables will require a plant health certificate, it is also important for exporters to ensure they also get the plant health certificate from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in order to export plants and plant materials to most non-EU countries. This certificate must be sent with the consignment.

Additional information can be access at www.gov.uk/guidance/exporting-plants-to-non-eu-countries

Phytosanitary Certification

Importing plants and plant products must be accompanied by a Phytosanitary certificate to confirm their health. The importer or their agent must provide advance notice through The Procedure for Electronic Application for Certificates (PEACH) that a consignment is about to enter the UK.

The following ten types of fresh fruit and vegetables must comply with specific marketing standards and will continue to require notification prior to import and certification:

  • Apples
  • Citrus fruit
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Peaches and Nectarines
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Table grapes
  • Lettuces, curled-leaved and broad-leaved endives
  • Sweet peppers
  • Tomatoes

If you do not have a conformity and compliancy certificate for any of these commodities your consignments will not be cleared to free circulation in the UK.  All consignments must be accompanied by a certificate before they can be customs cleared.

You can register for PEACH: http://ehmipeach.defra.gov.uk/

PEACH also deals with import consignments covered by EU-wide plant health regulations. These require that most plants, some plant products and produce imported from outside the EU must be accompanied by a Phytosanitary certificate and that imports of these goods must be pre-notified to the UK’s Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate.

BREXIT.  Please note that some of these regulations and requirements could change when the UK leaves the European Union.  We will try to update our advice as and when required, but you should watch out for and be aware of possible changes.