New EU regulations on plant imports come into force from December 2019

Plant Health Regulation (PHR) – Third Country Import and High Risk Plants

From 14 December 2019, all plants and plant products arriving into the EU will need to be accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate (PC).

(PC is a global certificate to regulate plants and products imported to UK from 3rd (non-EU) countries. Plant Passport (PP) legislation governs movements of plants within the EU. N.B. The UK is not now a ‘third country’. New and existing regulations will continue to apply during the transition period.)

Globalised trade and climate change now present a greater risk to agriculture, forestry and biodiversity and environment. The new EU PHR sets out 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 these risks.

The new list of (currently) 35 high risk plants from all third countries includes many genera familiar to UK landscape architects and garden designers.

Import 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

See also: Summary of import requirements for plants, plant produce and products (PDF, revised February 2020)

Plant Health Regulation (PHR) – Plant Passports

New Plant Passport regulations also came into force in the UK and across the EU on 14 December 2019.

All plants for planting will now require a Plant Passport. This includes plants and plant products moved within the UK and EU. ‘Plants for planting’ includes plants to be planted, plants that remain planted, or plants that may be replanted, some seeds, bulbs and other items.

For a full list of changes, see the Defra factsheet at


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