UK flower industry thrown into chaos by new Brexit border checks

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Of all the effects of Brexit, probably the least anticipated was that flower exporters and customs officials would have to learn Latin.

But that is one of the problems that confronted British businesses in the first week after the government introduced physical checks on some food and plants from the EU. Traders said they had faced far more checks than they were led to believe would take place and in some cases lorries had been held for hours before being waved on without inspection.

The long waits have been a significant problem for some in the flower trade, which relies on timely imports from the Netherlands. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had told the industry that it would aim to check between 3% and 5% of consignments containing “medium-risk” products such as cut flowers.

On Saturday, Defra insisted it was meeting this target, but some flower wholesalers said every one of their lorries had been pulled aside for checking and that customers had missed deliveries because their flowers were stuck at the new £147m facility at Sevington in Kent.


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