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Post-Brexit border issues are still impacting plant imports in Britain and Europe

Nurseries and garden centres in Britain and Europe are experiencing operational challenges due to new post-Brexit border posts, leading to delays, damage, and additional costs for plant importers. The Horticultural Trade Association, along with European trade associations, has issued an open letter seeking urgent solutions, highlighting that the new system has increased import costs by over 25%. The introduction of checks in April has caused significant delays at the border, with reports of deliveries being held for up to 44 hours, raising concerns over the potential for harmful pests and plant diseases to enter Britain.

The new regulations require certain plant and animal products from the EU to be inspected at border posts, a departure from the previous system of spot checks at nurseries. This has resulted in logistical challenges and financial strain for importers, with one haulage company reporting 93 hours of driver waiting time in the first week, equating to an additional £38,000 in costs. The situation has led to instances where the majority of plants perished, causing financial losses and impacting supply chains.

The letter, endorsed by major trade bodies including the International Flower Trade Association and VGB, highlights the increased costs and impracticalities of the new inspection regime, particularly for small businesses. It also raises concerns about the adequacy of the checks at border posts and the potential for missed disease detections. The government has responded by emphasizing its commitment to efficient and effective inspections to safeguard biosecurity.

The changes have prompted a call for a review of the new border inspection processes to address the challenges faced by the horticultural trade in Britain and Europe, ensuring the health of imported plants without imposing undue burdens on businesses.


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