About Us

The port health authority district is defined as:-
That part of the Port of Orwell Haven which lies to the north and east of a line-

  1. starting at a point in the mouth of the River Orwell where the boundary of Babergh District meets the Boundary of Suffolk Coastal (reference point TM 2604 3412); thence
  2. to the North Shelf Buoy (reference point TM 2761 3249)
  3. to the South Shelf Buoy (reference point TM 2768 3185)
  4. to the Cliff Foot Buoy (reference point TM 2760 3074); thence
  5. on a true bearing 090o to the seaward limit of the Port of Orwell Haven.

Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority is part of East Suffolk Council. The Port Health Authority is responsible for a district referred to as the Port of Orwell Haven which includes the Port of Felixstowe.  

The Authority, the largest in the UK, has been in existence since 1899 and is part of East Suffolk Council's Health department.

Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority serves business by providing essential border control checks on controlled imports and protects the nation and the EU through the provision of the following services:

We aim to provide professional, effective and efficient services with the quickest possible turnaround times for consignments of imported foods and products of animal origin.  As part of East Suffolk Council our work is guided by their Compliance and Enforcement Policy

We publish a Food and Health and Safety Service Plan each year in the format prescribed by the Food Standards Agency in its Framework Agreement on Local Authority Law Enforcement. The plan is approved by members and is reviewed to identify our performance against the Service Plan, any variance from the plan and areas for improvement in the service.

We work closely with the Port of Felixstowe to ensure that we are able to offer an efficient service, and as far as possible we have integrated the automated cargo handling system Destin8 and other electronic systems such as TRACES with our own electronic system PHILIS.

Port Health cover is maintained on a shift basis and our office at Felixstowe is open from 06:30 until 22:00 weekdays (except Bank Holidays) and 06:30 to 14:30 on weekends. 

The staff of Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority include the Head of Health who is based at Woodbridge; and a dedicated team of Service Managers; Port Health Officers, Official Veterinarians, Technical Assistants, and Import Control Assistants who are based at the Felixstowe office. 

The Authority engages the services of Public Analysts, Consultants in Communicable Disease Control and Boarding Medical Officers. The Authority also uses the services of the Health Protection Agency.

Felixstowe is able to handle such large ships most of the Far East trade uses the Port of Felixstowe, which means that the Port Health team is the largest in the UK, as much of the import control work is focussed on food and feed from these countries.   

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