Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Information Bulletin: Faster customs clearance for fresh produce & plant imports thanks to new automatic system

Information Bulletin: Faster customs clearance for fresh produce & plant imports thanks to new automatic system

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 15 December 2009

293/09 The new Automatic Licence Verification System (ALVS) which will reduce customs clearance times and paperwork for all companies who import flowers, plants, fruit and vegetables into England and Wales from outside the EU, will be launched on Tuesday 16 February 2010, Defra & HMRC announced today.

Customs clearance times will now be reduced from 2 hours down to approximately 10 minutes as ALVS will electronically link HMRC’s ‘CHIEF’ and RPA & FERA’s ‘PEACH’ systems. The introduction of ALVS also means that companies will no longer need to fax Conformity and Quarantine Release Certificates to HMRC’s National Clearance Hub for physical checks.

Quick ALVS customs clearance will occur when Document Unique Consignment Reference, weight and commodity codes entered on the customs declaration exactly match the details entered onto the associated PEACH application.

Defra & HMRC have been running a live pilot of ALVS since March 2009 with the number of importers and agents using the system increasing each month and now totalling 90. A number of briefing sessions for trade have been run in Manchester, Peterborough, Felixstowe and Heathrow. Final briefing sessions will take place at the Premier Inn Heathrow, Hounslow, Middlesex on Wednesday 6 January 2010 and Wednesday 10 February 2010.

It was decided to run an extended pilot to ensure that any potential issues with the new system, supporting systems and HMRC/Defra infrastructure had been resolved before the full launch of ALVS. Many traders having volunteered to pilot the system have provided very positive feedback.

More information on ALVS can be found on the FERA website:

Notes for editors

ALVS has been funded by the International Trade Single Window (ITSW) a cross-government project whose partners include HMRC, Defra, BIS, SITPRO, FSA, and UKTI. The assistance of all companies who took part in the pilot, and Trade Associations such as FPC, BIFA & SITPRO, has been an important part of developing the new system.


Defra Press Office
Phone: 020 7238 5608

Tim Dunford
Phone: 020 7238 6001

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