Details of the Port Health service, what we're responsible for, and our fees and charges. 

The Secretary of State for Health administers Port Health for England and this is devolved to the administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The statutory authority for the function is given by the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

Port Health: main functions

Our main functions are:

  • Inspection of shipping, including passenger vessels, to ensure public health standards are met
  • Control of infectious disease on board incoming vessels by undertaking health check visits to ships
  • Investigation of reported sickness amongst ship's company or passengers
  • Inspection of foodstuffs and products of animal origin entering the EU at Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Docks
  • Operation of an EU Border Inspection Post
  • Programmed inspection of food businesses within the curtilage of Avonmouth Docks
  • Provision of information and advice concerning EU and UK legislation and controls
  • Acting as a focus for customers and other agencies, such as Department of Environment, Foods and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), Food Standards Agency (FSA), and Health Protection Agency (HPA).
  • Monitoring water quality and pest control around the docks.

Infectious Disease Control: ships

We are directly responsible for investigating any case of infectious disease and liaise closely with the Health Protection Agency.

A requirement exists that all cases of infectious disease are notified to us prior to a ship arriving at port. Investigations based on that information are undertaken, the goal is to stop infectious diseases reaching the community.

Routinely, we inspect all types of commercial shipping to ensure appropriate sanitary conditions and hygiene standards are maintained.

We undertake frequent inspections. This is done in close co-operation with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to secure international agreements and standards.

Imported Food Inspections / EU Border Control

Avonmouth and Royal Portbury is a designated EU Border Inspection Post. This means that the Port Health Authority is approved to inspect and release products of animal origin (meat and fish) from outside the E.U. for free circulation within the community.

We carry out a checking regime to ensure that the products of animal origin comply with both European and UK law.

Every consignment is subject to documentary, identity and physical checks.

All other food imports of non animal origin e.g. cocoa fruit, and nuts, are inspected on a risk assessment basis. Samples procured being subjected to physical and microbiological checks.

Port Health fees and charges

For our fees read our pdf Port Health charges list (148 KB)

For more information

About Port Health activities please contact us or you may wish to visit the website

Contact us

Bristol Port Health
Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Docks
C/o The Bristol Port Company
St Andrew's House
St Andrew's Road
BS11 9DQ

Tel:  0117 938 1171
Fax: 0117 938 1055