Importing and exporting plants including Plant Passporting in Wales

For the most up to date information regarding imports and exports, including guidance on regulations for the UK's withdrawal from the EU please click here

Guidance to finding information (March 2020)

New plant health regulations came in for the UK on 14 December 2019. These are to increase biosecurity and protection from plant pests and diseases. Businesses who sell plants and plant products need to be aware, and if relevant to them, act on these regulations. It is essential that where a business is involved in importing and exporting, business-to-business trade, online trading and distance sales (including home deliveries), they understand the regulations.

There are several key terms that you will need to be aware of and glossaries can be accessed through the resources below. Included amongst these terms are:

  • Plant Passports
  • Phytosanitary Certificates
  • Protected Zones
  • Trade Unit
  • Authorised Operator, Professional Operator

There are now a lot of online resources to explain the regulations and this guide points you to a selection. If you have further questions, there is Plant Health Helpline (given below).

Governmental Organisations

APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) is an executive agency of Defra. For plants, APHA is responsible for identifying and controlling endemic and exotic diseases and pests and the surveillance of new and emerging pests and diseases. It is also responsible for facilitating international trade in plants.

PHSI (Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate) is part of APHA and implements and enforces plant health policy in Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government. Plant Health and Seed Inspectors, working in regions, have duties including certifying plants for exports and inspecting imported plants and plant material. PHSI can be contacted for information.

In Wales, the Plant Health Helpline is on 0300 1000 313 or email 

The UK is currently operating under the SRSF (Smarter Rules for Safer Food) plant health regulations for plant import and export. The actions that are required from businesses differ between trade with the EU and trade with other countries.

It is important that horticulture businesses in Wales are aware of the plant health regulations. These include registration of your business, certification, inspection, plant passports and phytosanitary certificates, labelling and record keeping.

Government web pages

Two primary sources are:

Plant Health Information Portal

The SRSF pages are found at

These include introductory guides, questions and answer pages, factsheets, and a flow chart to help you decide whether your plants need a plant passport.

UK Government

 The Plant Health Control webpages are at

These include details for importing and exporting and information on quarantine pests. Click on the links given in these pages as they take you to further, important information. For instance, clicking on the link for importing will take you to a further link to register for PEACH if you are going to start importing plants. The exporting link takes you to details of applying for the certification you may need.

The issuing of plant passports for trade in the EU is covered at

Certain plant material e.g. trees, seed potatoes requires notification for its import. Information can be found at



NFU has provided a summary and update on the implementation of the regulations and plant passports at


Videos and training modules

A short introductory video is available from the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) on Members of HTA can access more detailed online seminars from the Association

A voluntary plant health standard is being rolled out and this is described in the webpages of Plant Healthy A series of training modules (Introduction to Plant Health and Good Biosecurity Practice) have been produced to support this standard and these are useful in understanding the plant health standard.

Amongst these, the training module “Plant health regulations and controls” gives detailed information on the organisations in the UK and EU that regulate the import and export of plants. It also gives an introduction to import and export, phytosanitary certificates and plant passports.


Related Pages

Update on plant imports with high risk for plant health - April 2020

Defra has introduced new legislation which came into force on 21 April 2020 and Wales will be endorsing this approach. The urgency and risk to plant health makes it necessary to bring in this legislation. The new legislation enhances the protection o…

5/18/2020 1:43:25 PM