1.The Committee has asked the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for a memorandum on the following points:
(1) Explain who the definition of “responsible operator” is intended to cover and in particular what the definition adds to the definition of “operator” (regulation 2(8) (inserted paragraph 5(1)).
(2) Explain why the defined term “responsible operator” is not used in regulation 2(8)(inserted paragraphs 7(2) and (4), 8, 12(2) and (3)).
(3) Confirm that the references to “place(s)” in regulation 2(6) (inserted Table A3) should be references to “place” in reliance on section 6(c) of the Interpretation Act 1978.
2.The term “operator” is defined in the alternative as the importer or the importer’s agent. The term “responsible operator” is defined as the particular person who, of these two persons, takes responsibility in any particular case for presenting a consignment for official controls under new Part 3 of Schedule 1.
3.The defined term the “responsible operator” is intended to provide a conveniently concise shorthand for “the operator who is responsible for a Schedule 1 consignment”, but the use of that shorthand would not have been apt in each case. The Department does not believe that it would have been appropriate to use the term “responsible operator” in new paragraphs 7(2) and (4), 8 and 12(3).
4.New paragraph 7(2) and (4) specifically refers to “a Schedule 1 consignment” to make it clear that these provisions apply where the operator who is responsible for the consignment knows that the consignment is a Schedule 1 consignment and is intending to present the consignment on that basis. New paragraph 12(3) similarly refers to “a Schedule 1 consignment”, and here this phrase is qualified by a relative clause “which is detained pursuant to this paragraph”, so again the Department does not consider that it would have been possible to refer to “the responsible operator” in this context.
5.As regards new paragraph 8, the phrase “the operator responsible for that consignment” refers back to the reference earlier in the sentence to the particular consignment that has arrived at the border control post. To achieve that backwards reference to the consignment in question, the phrase could alternatively have been expressed as “the person who, in relation to that consignment, is the responsible operator”, but the Department considered that that would be unnecessarily cumbersome and would appear tautologous in view of the way in which “responsible operator” is defined.
6.Any official statement to be provided by the national plant protection organisation for the purposes of items 2 and 3 of new Table A3 requires the national plant protection organisation to confirm that the “plants have been grown in a place of production”. The intention of the official statement is to obtain confirmation that the plants in the consignment have been grown in a place of production that meets the specified requirements, and not that all of the plants in the consignment have been grown in the same place of production. In this specific context, the Department believes that it is possible that a reference to “the written details of the place of production”, rather than to “the written details of the place(s) of production” would have resulted in the national plant protection organisation concluding that the official statement actually required all of the plants in the consignment to have been grown in the same place of production. The Department wished to avoid the risk of giving that impression, and therefore did not consider it appropriate to rely on section 6(c) of the Interpretation Act 1978.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
9 June 2020
Published: 19 June 2020