Skip to main content

Horticulture: Northern Ireland

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL362, tabled on 18 May 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland has affected the sale of horticultural autumn bulbs from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Answered on

2 June 2021

Following the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021, EU Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) rules continue to apply in Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Protocol. This upholds the longstanding status of the island of Ireland as a single epidemiological unit, and means that all regulated plants and plant products moving from GB to NI are required to meet the EU’s third country import requirements, including the requirement for regulated goods to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate.

As announced in the updated operational guidance for the movement of horticultural goods from Great Britain (GB) to Northern Ireland (NI), bulbs or vegetables that have been grown in soil can be sent from GB to NI even if they still have soil attached, while respecting any pest free area requirements.

Under the Government’s successful Movement Assistance Scheme (MAS), businesses moving plants and plant products from GB to NI do not need to pay for the fees associated with inspections and issuance of phytosanitary certificates (PC). The Government announced on 6 April 2021 that MAS will continue to provide traders with advice and guidance via the dedicated MAS helpline and financial support for certain certification costs. The Government will continue to monitor the performance of the scheme and will review it again in three months’ time, to determine how best to provide ongoing support to traders.

Prior to 1 January, data was not collected on the movement of horticultural autumnal bulbs from GB to NI. Although the Plant Health and Seed Inspectorate (PHSI) collect data on the number of bulb phytosanitary applications, comparisons with exports prior to the Northern Ireland Protocol’s implementation cannot be drawn, as consignments of bulbs were not inspected before 1 January 2021.

The Government recognises the importance of this issue and is recording data on the number of PCs issued for regulated plants and plant products, including bulbs, exported to all third countries and for those moved from GB to NI. This enables us to monitor the trade in these goods over time.