UK postpones phytosanitary inspections for cut flowers

    The mandatory phytosanitary inspections of cut flowers shipped to the United Kingdom (UK) have been postponed to 1 January 2022. Until then, the British will also forgo inspections of plants and trees. 

    The initial plan was that cut flowers shipped to the UK were to undergo phytosanitary inspection in the country of origin from 1 April 2021. The British have now postponed this requirement by nine months.

    Pre-arrival notification of cut flowers shipped to the UK will now apply from 1 January 2022. From that date, the British are also going to check the documents and phytosanitary certificates of cut flowers arriving in the country.

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    Due to Covid

    The phytosanitary certificates that have been required for plants and trees shipped to the UK from 1 January 2021, are still required. But the British have postponed their checks of these until 1 January 2022 too. The British were initially going to check plants and trees as per 1 July 2021. The inspection of cut flowers, plants and trees will take place at Border Control Posts instead of at the Place of Destination.

    British MP Michael Gove says that the delay is due to the impact of Covid-19.

    “Last June, we announced a timeframe for the introduction of import checks from the EU to Great Britain to give companies the opportunity to prepare. This timeframe was based on the first wave of Covid-19. By now, we know that the disruption caused by Covid lasts much longer and has a much greater impact than anticipated. That’s why the government decided to adjust the timeframe”, Gove wrote in a statement

    Breathing space

    Matthijs Mesken of the VGB is pleased about the postponement of phytosanitary inspections for cut flowers. He always thought that the initial date of 1 April wasn’t feasible. The postponement gives the Quality Control Bureau and exporters more time to prepare. Exporters were fearing chaos for the trade to the UK from the 1st of April.

    Mesken: “The 9-month delay also gives us another chance to talk to our British colleagues about whether there’s a need for phytosanitary inspections in the first place. Cut flowers don’t pose any phytosanitary risks.”

    Dutch Flower Group is also happy that phytosanitary inspections of cut flowers exported to the UK are now postponed. “This is good news for the industry. It gives us a little more breathing space”, says Marcel Zandvliet. The CMO/CSO doesn’t think that the postponement will lead to a cancellation though.

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