Last reviewed 15 October 2020

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has issued guidance to traders on the rules that must be followed if they have to return rejected exports to Great Britain from the EU after the end of the transition period (1 January 2021).

Available at, this covers: Animals, plants, food and agricultural products (including wood packaging); Plants (including timber); and Controlled goods (ozone-depleting substances and fluorinated gas (F-gas) and fertilisers). The requirements differ according to the type of goods involved.

For example, if a CITES specimen (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) has been exported from Great Britain but is rejected by the importing country, then those responsible must contact UK Border Force at to let them know it has been rejected. However, if a consignment of fertiliser is rejected at an EU border control post (BCP), it can re-enter Great Britain through any point of entry.

Although, for consignments of solid ammonium nitrate fertiliser with a nitrogen content of more than 28% of its weight, in a consignment weighing 500 kilograms or more, the trader must: notify the return port authority of the consignment type, arrival date and that it is a returned good and the reason for return.

They must then email at least five days before the shipment arrives in Great Britain.

Traders are advised to use the export plants, seeds, bulbs and wood guidance on EU plant health import requirements to help prepare to export correctly. This can be found at