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 of UK plant biosecurity.
The new legislation particularly concerns the import of plants which are hosts to Xylella fastidiosa, the Emerald Ash Borer, and Ceratocystis platani which causes canker stain of plane. For example, under the new measures the import of Coffea and Polygala myrtifolia is prohibited, with stronger import requirements for other high-risk hosts (i.e Olive, Almond, Nerium Oleander, Lavender and Rosemary).
Defra has said that businesses need to be aware of the following:
- For plant movements into England from the EU, please check with your supplier that they are approved to meet the prescribed requirements and confirm with them that their details have been supplied to Defra by the relevant competent authority in the EU member state concerned.
- For movements into England from the EU of the plant species covered by the regulations, these must be accompanied by an official statement confirming that the prescribed requirements have been met.
- While the format of this official statement is not prescribed in the regulations, the expectation is that EU competent authorities will choose to use the same documentation as for EU plant passports. Information on EU plant passports is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/issuing-plant-passports-to-trade-plants-in-the-eu
- In such cases, the document will need to verify that the national regulations have been complied with, through a reference to the relevant EPPO pest code.
- If Defra becomes aware of alternative arrangements proposed by EU competent authorities for providing the official statement, these will be publicised.
- Please ensure that the documentation you receive clearly indicates that the national requirements have been met, as described above.
Further information can be found through the UK Plant Health Information Portal and the new measure is described at https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/latest-news/new-national-measures-april-2020-and-xylella-consultation-response/
You can also see the press release at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/strict-new-controls-to-protect-the-uks-trees-and-plants-against-damaging-threats