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THE FOOD AND ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH AGENCY. Changes to Plant Health import inspections at key Points of Entry Brian Ellam Imports Manager Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate. What is the aim?.

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THE FOOD AND ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH AGENCY

Changes to Plant Health import inspections at key Points of Entry

Brian Ellam

Imports Manager

Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate


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What is the aim?

  • We want to work with the trade to increase the level of physical inspections (particularly at Heathrow) of plant health controlled imports from third countries as efficiently as possible

  • We are seeking ways of increasing Inspector efficiency

  • We need trade help to achieve this for the benefit of all of us

  • Will affect Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports first, other points of entry in due course


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Why are we doing this now?

  • EU legislation requires physical inspection of all imports of plant health controlled goods (excl reduced checks trades)

  • EU Commission critical of low level of import inspections compared to what the legislation requires

  • Have recruited 15 new Import Inspectors to address these concerns. Being trained now

  • Heathrow has highest number of imports in UK

  • 14 of these new Inspectors for Heathrow


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Current Inspection targets

Currently our priorities are

  • 100% of planting material, potatoes, soil and grain from certain countries

  • 100% of minimum inspection levels for reduced checks trades

  • What we can achieve for all other controlled goods


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National Inspections Planting material etcApril 2009 - March 2010

2818 consignments imported

2560 inspected

91% achievement

Heathrow currently 89%

Future target is 100%



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National Inspections Reduced checksApril 2009 - March 2010

42200 consignments imported

23300 require inspection

4700 inspected (target met for 30 of 43 trades)

20% achievement

Heathrow currently meet target for None of 43 trades

Future target is 100% of the 23,300 (43 of 43 trades)


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National Inspections Reduced checksApril 2009 - March 2010


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National Inspections Other controlled goodsApril 2009 - March 2010

60,000 consignments imported

59,500 require inspection

10,500 inspected

18% achievement

Heathrow currently achieve 7%

Future target is 75% inspection (as starting point)



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How can we meet the new targets?

  • New Heathrow Inspectors working 06:00 – 24:00 7 days/week

  • Inspectors allocated to ‘shed areas’ when those sheds busy – less travel time. Task allocations

  • Auto-clear mechanism deactivated – April/May

  • Instead inspection selection managed manually

    • Commodities where few problems

    • Firms regularly meeting pre-notification timescales

    • Firms meeting original phyto submission times

    • Firms inputting applications correctly

    • When Inspectors unavailable (excluding 00:00 – 06:00)


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Other changes and how trade can help

  • Better compliance with pre-notification timescales – allows better work planning. Pre-notification times not met – we inspect when we are available. Service standards don’t apply. Priority to applications where notification met.

  • Accurate date/time available for inspection - goods not there when said to be – we come back later. Service standards don’t apply

  • Priority for ‘Out of hours’ inspections given to applications prepared to pay higher ‘out of hours’ physical inspection fee – from 01/05/2011


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Other changes and how trade can help

Approved inspection points

  • Must be up to scratch. Should be to Border Inspection Post standards. Need inspection table that can be cleaned and disinfected (stainless steel), good lighting, power available, somewhere to put equipment. In safe area.

  • Part of the deal is that the point of inspection staff bring goods to inspection area & return.

  • Inspectors should not have to wander around sheds looking for consignments


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Other changes and how trade can help

  • Submit documents with applications. Doc submission is part of the pre-notification – often submitted some time after PEACH application.

  • Plant Health Imports Helpdesk. Inspectors at Heathrow get many technical queries about PEACH or CHIEF – these should go to PEACH Helpdesk or HMRC. Queries relating to ALVS mismatches should not go to Heathrow inspectors but appropriate Helpdesk, incl HMRC

  • Plant Health Imports Helpdesk – hours likely to be shortened to 07:00 to 21:00


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When will these other changes take place?

  • Gradually, from April onwards as new staff become qualified

  • Industry can help us to help them by addressing some of these requirements from now on

    THANK YOU


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