Changes to import fees from 22 July 2022

Defra will be introducing a new, flat-rate import inspection and identity check fee for plants for planting and cuttings that originate from EU and non-EU countries. The new fee structure will change to be charged at £32.15 for physical inspection fees and £1.57 for identity check fees. As consulted on, this new fee structure will protect British growing industries by making the costs for importing finished plants the same as it is for importing plants for further growing.

When certain plants and plant products enter the UK, they undergo three types of checks: documentary, identity and physical checks.

A documentary check entails the examination of official certifications, attestations and other commercial documents that are required to accompany the consignment.

An identity check entails a visual inspection to verify that the contents of a consignment correspond with the information provided in the accompanying documentation.

A physical check entails a check on the goods to verify that they are compliant with the phytosanitary import requirements of the country of destination. This includes, as appropriate, checks on the consignment’s packaging and means of transport. Sampling for laboratory testing or diagnosis may also be required, if this is the case a further fee will be applied.

Flat Rate Fees for England & Wales

The highest risk commodities are subject to 100% documentary, identity and physical checks. The level of identity and physical checks on other commodities is based on the risk presented by the import of different plants and goods from different origins. 

From 22nd July 2022, for consignments of plants for planting and cuttings, a flat rate fee will be applied for all imports checks (documentary, identity and physical). This will be applied regardless of the intended use of the goods and is in line with the recent consultation on this matter. This does not apply for Scotland (see below for more details).

For other consignments eligible for reduced levels of physical checks a proportionally reduced fee is already applied to every imported consignment.

Each consignment will receive a combined document, identity and physical inspection charge regardless of whether they are inspected. The methodology used to calculate the flat rate fee for plants for planting and cuttings was consulted on in 2022. The methodology used to calculate all other fees was fully consulted on in 2017 and has not changed. Fee income is carefully monitored to ensure there is no over or under recovery and any discrepancy would normally be rectified in the following year. These flat rate fees will not apply to Scottish imports.

For more indicative information on the changes to the import inspection fees in England & Wales from 22 July 2022 please see this page.

Defra sets out a new flat rate import fee and changes to the frequency of import checks for plants - UK Plant Health Information Portal

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