Defra is introducing changes to the plant health import inspection fees from today, 1 October 2019, despite objections from the Fresh Produce Consortium.

The changes will result in an overal increase of 11% for the whole import inspection regime with some sectors such as ornamental and cut flower sectors having significant increases in fees. Fresh fruit and vegetables see a reduction of 8% in charges. Defra has confirmed that the next review of charges will take place in April 2021.

The Fresh Produce Consortium has made a complaint to the Rt Hon Lord Gardiner of Kimble, Defra Under Secretary of State, regarding the lack of consultation with the industry on the introduction of these changes and the absence of any reasonable notice period. "The lack of consultation with the industry is shocking and an immense disappointment given how we have worked with Defra in the past to identify areas for improving its service. There is no evidence of Defra having undertaken a review of efficiencies in this assessment round," said Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive of FPC - pictured above.

"Many sectors will struglle to absorb these additioanl costs, particularly against the uncertanity of Brexit. There is a rsik that the UK will become less competitive and trade will move elsewhere in Europe. The lack of any sufficient notice of these changes is unacceptable as many long term contracts are in place already and there is no possibility of suppliers passing on costs to their customers."

For details fo the charges see: Statutory Instrument 'The Plant Health etc. (Miscellaneous Fees) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019:

Source: The Florist Magazine