Port of Dover

British growers are set to save thousands of pounds following changes to the border inspection regime for young plants.

The changes will introduce a flat-rate inspection fee of around £27 for all imports of young plants, regardless of their destination. This is reduced from around £200 and will result in a significant saving for growers.

From 1 July, Border Control Points will be introduced for goods coming into Britain. Importers bringing plants and plant material into the UK will have to go through a Border Control Point.

The NFU highlighted to Defra the unfairness in the previous inspection regime, which charged a significantly lower inspection fee of around £20 for plants destined for retail and urged them to introduce a flat-fee for all inspections, regardless of destination.

NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board chairman Martin Emmett said: “This is a significant victory for growers, which will save them thousands of pounds and move away from an inspection regime that unfairly penalised growers importing plants.

“This is a great example of government understanding growers’ concerns and finding a practical solution that works for both growers and retailers.

“While it is only temporary, until the cost of the plant import process post-Brexit can be fully assessed, I know growers will be pleased with this announcement, particularly given the backdrop of rapid inflation increasing costs.

“There remains work to be done on other border issues, such as handling charges at ports, and the NFU is continuing to receive clarification on these as soon as possible.”