Plant Health Guide: guidance for importers

The guide summarises the plant health controls which apply to the import into Scotland of plants, seeds, plant products, plant pests, soil and growing medium from countries outside the European Union.


9. Certain pests, plants and plant products are prohibited from entering Scotland from countries outside the EU. Imports of the following material are generally prohibited:

(i) plant pests listed in Schedules 1 and 2 to the Plant Health (Scotland) Order 2005 (as amended), or those that are not normally present in Scotland and which are likely to be harmful to plants in Scotland;

(ii) plants, plant products and soil from specified countries, as listed in Schedule 3 to the Order ( Appendix A gives details of these).

Import of prohibited material under licence

10. It may be possible to import and keep prohibited material for trial or scientific purposes or for work on varietal selections, subject to strict quarantine and containment conditions, under the authority of a licence issued by HMU or SASA. Licence applications incur a fee and must be made in advance of import. Further details can be obtained by contacting HMU, or at:

11. When material covered by a licence is landed, the letter of authority which forms part of the licence must be presented to HM Revenue and Customs ( HMRC) at the time and place where customs formalities are normally carried out. Prohibited material imported without a licence may be re-exported or destroyed.

12. A limited range of material which is otherwise prohibited may be imported under a derogation from the EU legislation. Derogations are granted by the European Commission and are available for a limited period, with frequently stringent conditions applying to the import. A licence is required for imports made in this way. Requests for new derogations are assessed against the potential risks to all Member States. This is a complex procedure and cannot be completed in less than 12 months. Details of derogations currently in force can be found at:

Further information about derogations can be obtained from HMU (see Appendix B for contact details).

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