To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the supply of unwashed potatoes from mainland Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
15 January 2021
We have worked hard to ensure the supply of potatoes from GB to Northern Ireland, and the EU has recently voted in favour of lifting the plant health prohibition on ware potatoes for import to the EU and NI from GB.
For movements of ware potatoes to NI there will be a three-month grace period from certification through to 1 April 2021 for authorised traders such as supermarkets and their trusted suppliers from 1 January 2021. Authorised traders moving ware potatoes from GB to NI will not require official certification, such as phytosanitary certificates or marketing standards certification and will be able to move potatoes, including unwashed potatoes, under the scheme. For goods not moving under the grace period scheme there will be a requirement for a phytosanitary certificate to confirm compliance with EU requirements, which include that ware potatoes must be imported with less than 1% of soil in the consignment.
There is also the Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS), which was announced on 16 December and has been introduced to support and assist traders moving agri-food and similar goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland now that the transition period has ended and will be in place for a maximum of two years. The Movement Assistance Scheme provides traders with assistance with understanding the new regulations for moving goods from GB to NI as well as reimbursing some of the direct certification costs that would be incurred by traders for agri-food commodities (including potatoes) under the new requirements.