Northern Ireland news

Digger banned from Northern Ireland entry due to `soil in treads'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in December 2019 driving a Union flag-themed digger, with the words `Get Brexit Done' through a fake wall emblazoned with the word `Gridlock' while on the General Election campaign trail. Picture by Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

THE body overseeing the Northern Ireland Protocol has been asked to consider the strict ban on British soil being brought into Northern Ireland which has seen a digger banned from entry.

Seamus Leheny of Logistics UK said a business bringing machinery back from Great Britain was barred because "there was soil on the tracks of the digger".

"The digger wasn't allowed to come to Northern Ireland until it was fully power-washed and cleaned.

"My understanding is that the digger was inspected and soil was found beneath the mat, and that had to be cleaned out."

He said it is an issue which must now be considered by the UK-EU Joint Committee.

The checks are understood to have been carried out by DAERA officials.

Guidelines published on the department's website state `second hand machinery which has been used for agricultural, forestry, horticultural or soil preparation/cultivation purposes' is part of `regulated plants and plant products' requiring Phytosanitary Certificates from Great Britain confirming it is "free from relevant pests and diseases".

Anyone buying such machinery must register as an `importer' with the EU.

It was reported in the News Letter that sellers "are now charging an additional £200 to get machinery washed to the new exacting standard but that many English dealers now don't want to sell to Northern Ireland at all".

TUV leader Jim Allister described the situation as "beyond parody".

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