We may have left the EU, but for the time being, its plant health and biosecurity regulations still apply. As we approach the next planting season, the LI Biosecurity Working Group flags two important control and movement aspects of the EU Plant Health Regulation (PHR).

    Example of a plant passport

    Although only some members may be involved in directly sourcing plant stock from abroad, all need to be mindful of the likely source of material they specify for schemes or if they seek to replace particular plants in a formal scheme or collection. During the transition period the UK is still subject to EU Regulations concerning plant health and biosecurity.

    The EU Plant Health Regulation (PHR) sets out the controls and restrictions that will apply to imports and internal movement within the UK and the EU of certain plants, plant pests, and other materials like soil; helping to reduce risks.

    We want to flag up two aspects in particular as members approach the next planting season:

    Third Country Import and High Risk Plants

    Globalised trade and climate change now present a greater risk to agriculture, forestry and biodiversity and environment and potentially exotic plants which have been established and cultivated e.g. in UK over many centuries.

    Since 14 December 2019 all plants and plant products arriving into the EU must be accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate (PC). This is a global certificate to regulate plants and products imported to UK from third (i.e. non-EU) countries.

    The list of high-risk plants from all third countries includes many genera familiar to UK landscape architects and garden designers, e.g:  Acacia, Acer, Albizia, Berberis, Betula, Cornus, Lonicera, Quercus, Tilia, and Ulmus.

    Importation of any high risk plants and plant products into the EU is prohibited until risk assessment is carried out by European Food Safety Authority.

    For more details see:



    Plant Passports within the EU

    Plant Passports (PPs) relate to internal movements only of plants within the EU. PPs came into force in the UK and across the EU on 14 Dec 2019.

    All plants for planting will require a PP. Plants for planting includes plants to be planted, plants that remain planted, plants that may be replanted, some seeds, bulbs and other items.

    The new Plant Health Regulation identifies Regulated Non-Quarantine Pests (RNQP); and plants that are hosts of these RNQP will require a PP, and also be subjected to a range of additional measures such as inspections and sampling.

    For more details see: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/ and in particular https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/assets/uploads/PH-PP-Factsheet.pdf.

    During the transition period the rules on importing & exporting plants and plant products will not change. Post-transition (i.e. starting next year) regulations will depend on the nature of any agreement reached with the EU. Up to date information will be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/importing-and-exporting-plants-and-plant-products-from-1-january-2021 and members should revisit that page periodically.

    (The LI has a Plant Health and Biosecurity group, led by Ben Brace CMLI, which continues to monitor developments and advises members on issues. The LI also co-ordinates with the Plant Health Alliance)


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