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Plant Health Regulations

Volume 699: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

With reference to the Plant Health (Import Inspection Fees) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/3013), why the new reduced inspection rates vary from 3 per cent to 50 per cent; with whom they have been agreed for each product; and what method has been used to assign them to the producing countries. [HL2183]

Under EU legislation, certain third-country plant and plant material must be inspected at the point where it first enters the EU. Where plant and plant material from a specific country can be shown not to present a plant health risk, a reduced rate of inspection reflecting that risk may be applied.

The reduced rate of inspection is determined by the European Commission in consultation with the member states according to a fixed formula. This takes account of the volume of that particular trade from the country in question over a three-year period and the history and seriousness of interceptions of quarantine pests associated with that trade. The safer a trade proves to be, coupled with the volume of trade in the particular product from that country, the lower will be the reduced inspection rate which may be applied. Therefore, the reduced inspection rate may vary for the same material depending on its origin. Where a trade already subject to a reduced frequency of inspection proves to be less safe than previously, the reduced frequency percentage may be increased according to a fixed formula back up to the maximum of 100 per cent inspections.

I have arranged for a full list of the current reduced inspection rates to be placed in the Library of the House.