Changes to the Border Operating Model from 31st January 2024 - British Florist Association

Changes to the Border Operating Model from 31st January 2024

31 January 2024: The introduction of health certification on imports of medium risk animal products,
plants, plant products and high risk food (and feed) of non-animal origin from the EU

It sounds scary but what does it really mean for florists in your every day working life? The BFA have put together a Q & A, to alleviate any worries or concerns you may have.

What are the medium risk plant products listed at DEFRA

There are 5 flower products that are listed as medium risk and they are gypsophila, solidago, orchids, dianthus and chrysanthemum.

Do you think the new checks will cause problems to UK flower businesses, specifically in the context of Valentine’s, Mother’s Day and Easter, spring weddings?

Despite the new legislation and increased paper attached to importing flowers we do not believe there will be any impact come the 31st January dead line. The requirements between 1st February and 30th April 2024 are more administrative with physical inspections only taking place in Holland and not at the borders in the UK. Checks are already performed daily in Holland on plants entering the UK so this will just be an add on to that process. We foresee no issues with Valentines and Mothers Day, the issues will only arise once physical checks are required in the UK and with this in mind we urge the UK government to provide more clarity on the process.

Do you think it will reduce the availability of important flower varieties? And, if so, which ones? Might there be shortages of types of flowers?

The plan is at the moment is checks in Holland will be undertaken on the same day they are purchased from auction and will transit any different to how they do today, it is worth remembering only 5 varieties of cut flower will be impacted by the new rules – gypsophila, solidago, orchids, dianthus and chrysanthemum.

How important are flowers imported from Holland to UK flower businesses?

The Dutch auctions are incredibly important to the UK flower business with over 80% of flowers sold in the UK coming via Holland. These flowers may not have been grown in Holland originally but will transit through on their journey to the UK and the rest of the world. For this reason we have to be very confident that our Dutch counterparts are planning for all eventualities. We have navigated through Brexit and Covid so industry is getting used to the complexities on importing not just flowers but many products.

Might the delays in getting flowers through ports lead to ‘spoilage’?

During the first phase of the new legislation we envisage no issues with spoilage, how the process looks come the beginning of May is unknown. We would like more clarity and understanding from the UK government and assurances that fresh produce will not be held for a prolonged period of time.

Do you think the new checks and supply issues will have any impact on prices, given that meeting the extra bureaucracy will increase industry/supplier costs?

Of course – any process involving paper work and checks will come with an increased cost to the supplier chain but it is worth noting the product we sell is impacted by so many variable costs. The war and the Ukraine and energy costs have impacted prices way beyond that of the costs of documentation post Brexit.  

If so, is there any sort of guide as to how much more expensive prices will be?

We are looking at an increase of pennies per stem and it will hardly be noticeable by the general public, but for the florists it is just another increased cost at a time when running a small business is at an all time high.

As a florist do I need to do anything to be ready for the 31st January?

The simple answer is no. Talk to your wholesaler and flower supplier for any concerns you may have.

Our thanks to BFA board Director John Davidson of Tom Brown Wholesale.

The British Florist Association (BFA) is ‘not for profit’ organisation which represents approximately 6000 florists and used its database of 5200 florists The content of these stats belong to the BFA and third party partners and use of the content should be agreed by the BFA and accredited to the www.britishfloristassociation.org. Thank you.

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