DEFRA Plant Health Updates - July 2007
The European Plant Health directive, first emerged back in 2000. It required major changes to the day to day activity of the industry and specifically it stipulated that all consignments ie 100%, of plant health regulated materials (principally the majority of all fruit and vegetables), must be inspected, prior to customs clearance and that importers must give prior notice of arrival. In addition and for the first time, the industry would be charged for the service.
In the original form, the regulation posed a great challenge to the fresh produce industry and the relevant UK authorities. The prospect of spiralling costs, huge backlogs at ports, unfulfilled orders and empty customer shelves, was the inevitability of this bureaucratic and unsustainable proposal.
The final implementation phase of this process will be rolled out during September and October, which is a culmination of extensive dialogue with RPAI, Defra Plant Health and FPC resulting in a pragmatic and workable solution for all parties. The conclusion of this process has not only removed significant bureaucratic burden for the industry, but is further enhanced by the extended use of the PEACH system (developed jointly by RPAI and FPC in 2004) to promote electronic communication between industry and government. This system continues to be praised as one of the best examples of industry/government partnerships.
At a series of well attended regional workshops in June, chaired by Nigel Jenney and organised in conjunction with the RPAI, Defra Plant Health and Business Link, delegates were advised of the key changes and implementation dates for this legislation. Headlines at the workshops included:
- 100% Inspection – amended with the introduction of a risk based approach to inspection, resulting in a reduced level of inspection and reduced charges for specific country and product combinations.
- Pre-notification of arrival – agreed to delay implementation until the electronic Peach system is available for use to the industry’s great advantage.
- Inspection before customs clearance - opportunity to use approved inland sites under customs control – CFSP/ERTS
- Charging – current UK charges are as per the EU directive, however, the directive provides the option for charging for actual costs.
Further workshops will be held later this year aimed at those who will use PEACH on a day to day basis.
This is another fine example of the effectiveness of FPC to influence the decision makers to reconsider and accept there is an alternative and more practical way of implementing the necessary legislation while meeting the day to day needs of the industry. In this revised version, the industry has been saved a significant administrative burden and has avoided substantial financial costs. The FPC wishes to thank all those who have contributed to achieving this outcome for the benefit of the industry as a whole.
It is crucial that you fully understand and appreciate the impact on your business – for detailed information see www.defra.gov.uk/planth/import/controlled.htm
For non-members reading this article, perhaps you will appreciate the considerable influence of the FPC acting in your interests as the industry’s trade association, and will reconsider joining the many members that already play and active and responsible role in the sector.
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To help us celebrate the 63rd anniversary of this unique event we are delighted to announce that the Guest Nation will be
~ KENYA ~
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