Guidance

Import or export wood packaging material

Importers and exporters of wood packaging material (WPM) must meet requirements - treatment and marking - under the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures 15 (ISPM15).

If you import any goods using wood packaging material (WPM), you need to be aware of the requirements for landing them in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). (Separate but similar arrangements apply in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.) This is because wood packaging material is a known pathway for the introduction of harmful tree and forestry pests and diseases.

WPM includes:

  • packing cases
  • boxes
  • crates
  • drums and similar containers
  • pallets, box pallets, pallet collars and other load boards

The GB landing requirements for goods from Third Countries – non-EU Member States (except Switzerland, treated as an EU Member State) – are relatively straight forward. The rules are based on the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures number 15 (ISPM15:2018)1.

ISPM15 applies to timber sourced from all species of tree and used to manufacture solid wood packaging materials, although certain wood product types are exempt. (See the rules about exemptions below.)

Different, less stringent landing requirements apply to WPM originating in EU Member States, except Portugal and certain areas of Spain– see below for detailed information. The specific landing requirements for different consignor countries are explained below.

WPM imports from Third Countries (except Switzerland)

Wood packaging material may only be imported into Great Britain from Third Countries if they meet these requirements:

WPM treatment

Debarked wood packaging material, including dunnage (ie loose wood used to wedge or support cargo) is subject to one of the approved measures as specified in the ISPM15 (Revised 2018):

  • heat treatment that achieves a temperature of 56 degrees Celsius for a minimum duration of 30 continuous minutes throughout the entire profile of the wood, including its core
  • dielectric heating (eg microwave) of wood not exceeding 20cm when measured across the smallest dimension of the piece or stack - the material must be heated to achieve a minimum temperature of 60 degrees Celsius for one continuous minute throughout the entire profile of the wood, including at its surface
  • fumigated with methyl bromide in accordance with requirements described in Annex 1 of ISPM15
  • fumigated with sulphuryl fluoride in accordance with requirements described in Annex 1 of ISPM15

The material must also display a mark with the 2-letter ISO country code assigned by the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) of the country concerned. It identifies the producer and the approved measure applied to the WPM as specified in Annex II of ISPM15 1.

Use of debarked wood

Wood packaging material must be made of debarked wood, irrespective of the type of treatment applied. For this standard, any number of visually separate and clearly distinct small pieces of bark may remain if they are either:

  • less than 3cm in width (regardless of the length)
  • or greater than 3cm in width, with the total surface area of an individual piece of bark less than 50 square cm

For methyl bromide treatment and sulphuryl fluoride treatments, the bark must be removed before treatment because the presence of bark on the wood can affect the effectiveness of the treatment. For heat treatment, the bark may be removed before or after treatment. When a dimension limitation is specified for a certain type of heat treatment (eg dielectric heating), any bark must be included in the dimension measurement.

WPM imports from EU Member States and Switzerland

There is no requirement for ISPM15 treatment and marking to be applied to WPM being imported to GB from another EU Member State, except Portugal. However, if WPM has been applied and meets this standard, it will be accepted.

Where ISPM15 treatment and marking have not been applied, and the conifer WPM comes from another EU Member State (except Portugal), the less stringent GB Protected Zone landing requirements detailed below must be applied.

If you’re importing conifer wood packaging material originating in Portugal or from certain areas in Spain to Great Britain, the wood must be ISPM15-compliant because of the outbreak of pinewood nematode (PWN) in these countries. Refer to the EU Commission Implementing Decision 2012/535/EU and outbreak information.

WPM treatment options for WPM from EU Member States other than ISPM15 requirements

Conifer wood

Conifer material shall be either:

  • bark-free
  • or accompanied by a plant passport issued by a registered forestry trader in an EU Member State declaring that the wood with residual bark originated in an area known to be free of certain bark beetle species
  • or kiln dried (KD), marked with a KD mark, and accompanied by a plant passport issued by a registered forestry trader in an EU Member State

The bark-free requirement is stricter than the debarked wood requirement. Bark-free means wood from which all bark has been removed, except in-grown bark around knots, and bark pockets between rings of annual growth has been removed.

Hardwood

Generally speaking, WPM made from most hardwood timber types are not regulated when they come from other EU Member States, and therefore do not require any treatment or marking. However, wood packaging made from sweet chestnut and plane wood coming from other EU Member States is subject to GB plant health controls.

The specific landing requirements for these controlled hardwoods are not provided in this guidance, because these wood types are not often used in WPM. They can, however, be obtained from the Forestry Commission’s Plant Health Service if required. (Find contact information below if you have any queries.)

Exemptions

ISPM15 requirements or other landing requirements do not apply to:

  • wood packaging material made entirely from thin wood (6mm thickness or less)
  • wood packaging material constructed entirely from processed wood produced by using glue, heat and pressure, or a combination thereof, including plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and other particle board products

These exemptions apply to wood packaging materials originating in EU Member States and Third Countries.

Phytosanitary and Treatment Certificates

There is no requirement for ISPM15-compliant WPM to be accompanied by a phytosanitary or treatment certificate because the certification is provided via the application of the ISPM15 mark. This applies to wood packaging materials originating in EU Member States and Third Countries. Certification will not be accepted by an inspector in lieu of an ISPM15 mark applied to the wood packaging material being imported.

Compulsory import notification procedures for certain goods from China and Belarus

The Forestry Commission GB require all importers of 52 commodities (identified by generic and specific CN Codes) from China and Belarus to provide advance notification of their intention to land any of them. This requirement is as per Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/1137.

The compulsory CN codes and their commodities are:

CN code Commodity description
2514 00 00 Slate, whether or not roughly trimmed or merely cut, by sawing or otherwise, into blocks or slabs of rectangular (including square) shape
2515 Marble, travertine, ecaussine and other calcareous monumental or building stone of an apparent specific gravity of 2,5 or more, and alabaster, whether or not roughly trimmed or merely cut, by sawing or otherwise, into blocks or slabs of rectangular (including square) shape
2516 Granite, porphyry, basalt, sandstone and other monumental or building stone, whether or not roughly trimmed or merely cut, by sawing or otherwise, into blocks or slabs of a rectangular (including square) shape
4401 Fuel wood, in logs, billets, twigs, faggots or similar forms; wood in chips or particles; sawdust and wood waste and scrap, whether or not agglomerated in logs, briquettes, pellets or similar forms
4415 Packing cases, boxes, crates, drums and similar packings, of wood; cable-drums of wood; pallets, box pallets and other load boards, of wood; pallet collars of wood (excl. containers specially designed and equipped for one or more modes of transport)
4415 20 Pallets, box pallets and other load boards, of wood; pallet collars of wood (excl. containers specially designed and equipped for one or more modes of transport)
4415 20 90 Box pallets and other load boards, of wood (excl. containers specially designed and equipped for one or more modes of transport; flat pallets and pallet collars)
4415 20 20 Pallets and pallet collars, of wood
4418 Builders’ joinery and carpentry, of wood, incl. cellular wood panels, assembled flooring panels, shingles and shakes, of wood (excl. plywood panelling, blocks, strips and friezes for parquet flooring, not assembled, and pre-fabricated buildings)
4421 Other articles of wood, n.e.s.
6501 00 Hat-forms, hat bodies and hoods of felt, neither blocked to shape nor with made brims; plateaux and manchons, incl. slit manchons, of felt
6801 00 00 Setts, curbstones and flagstones, of natural stone (excl. slate)
6802 Worked monumental or building stone (except slate) and articles thereof, other than goods of heading 6801; mosaic cubes and the like, of natural stone (including slate), whether or not on a blocking; artificially coloured granules, chippings and powder, of natural stone (including slate)
6803 00 Worked slate and articles of slate or of agglomerated slate (excl. slate granules, chippings and powder, mosaic cubes and the like, slate pencils, and ready-to-use slates or boards with writing or drawing surfaces)
6810 Articles of cement, concrete or artificial stone, whether or not reinforced
6811 40 Articles of asbestos-cement, cellulose fibre-cement or the like, containing asbestos
6902 00 Refractory bricks, blocks, tiles and similar refractory ceramic constructional goods, other than those of siliceous fossil meals or similar siliceous earths
6904 00 Non-refractory ceramic building bricks, flooring blocks, support or filler tiles and the like
6905 00 Roofing tiles, chimney pots, cowls, chimney liners, architectural ornaments and other ceramic constructional goods
6906 00 Ceramic pipes, conduits, guttering and pipe fittings (excl. of siliceous fossil meals or similar siliceous earths, refractory ceramic goods, chimney liners, pipes specifically manufactured for laboratories, insulating tubing and fittings and other piping for electrotechnical purposes)
6907 Ceramic flags and paving, hearth or wall tiles; ceramic mosaic cubes and the like, whether or not on a backing (excl. of siliceous fossil meals or similar siliceous earths, refractory goods, tiles specially adapted as table mats, ornamental articles and tiles specifically manufactured for stoves)
6912 00 83 Household articles and toilet articles, of stoneware (excl. tableware, kitchenware, baths, bidets, sinks and similar sanitary fixtures, statuettes and other ornamental articles, pots, jars, carboys and similar receptacles for the conveyance or packing of goods)
6912 00 23 Tableware and kitchenware, of stoneware (excl. statuettes and other ornamental articles, pots, jars, carboys and similar receptacles for the conveyance or packing of goods, and coffee grinders and spice mills with receptacles made of ceramics and working parts of metal)
7210 Flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, of a width ≥ 600 mm, hot-rolled or cold-rolled ‘cold-reduced’, clad, plated or coated
7313 00 Barbed wire of iron or steel; twisted hoop or single flat wire, barbed or not, and loosely twisted double wire, of a kind used for fencing, of iron or steel
7317 00 Nails, tacks, drawing pins, corrugated nails, staples and similar articles of iron or steel, whether or not with heads of other material (excl. such articles with heads of copper and staples in strips)
7318 Screws, bolts, nuts, coach screws, screw hooks, rivets, cotters, cotter pins, washers, incl. spring washers, and similar articles, of iron or steel (excl. lag screws, stoppers, plugs and the like, threaded)
7415 Nails, tacks, drawing pins, staples and similar Articles, of copper or with shafts of iron or steel and heads of copper, screws, bolts, nuts, screw hooks, rivets, cotters, cotter pins, washers ‘incl. spring washers’ and similar articles, of copper (excl. staples in strips, and lag screws, plugs, bungs and the like, threaded)
8101 96 Tungsten wire
8102 96 Molybdenum wire
8205 90 10 Anvils; portable forges; hand- or pedal-operated grinding wheels with frameworks
8465 93 Grinding, sanding or polishing machines for working wood, cork, bone, hard rubber, hard plastics or similar hard materials (excl. machines for working in the hand and machining centres)
4504 90 80 Agglomerated cork, with or without a binding substance, and articles of agglomerated cork (excl. footwear and parts thereof, insoles, whether or not removable; headgear and parts thereof; plugs and dividers for shotgun cartridges; toys, games and sports equipment and parts thereof; blocks, plates, sheets or strips; tiles of any shape; solid cylinders, incl. discs; corks and stoppers)
4823 90 85 Paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding and webs of cellulose fibres, in strips or rolls of a width ≤ 36 cm, in rectangular or square sheets, of which no side > 36 cm in the unfolded state, or cut to shape other than rectangular or square, and articles of paper pulp, paper, cellulose wadding or webs of cellulose fibres, n.e.s.
6912 00 83 Household articles and toilet articles, of stoneware (excl. tableware, kitchenware, baths, bidets, sinks and similar sanitary fixtures, statuettes and other ornamental articles, pots, jars, carboys and similar receptacles for the conveyance or packing of goods)
7108 13 80 Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, in semi-manufactured forms, for non-monetary purposes (excl. sheets and strips of a thickness, excl. any backing, of > 0,15 mm and plates, bars, rods, wire and sections)
7110 19 80 Platinum in semi-manufactured forms (excl. sheets and strips of a thickness, excl. any backing, of > 0,15 mm and plates, bars, rods, wire and sections)
7304 31 20 Precision tubes, seamless, of circular cross-section, of iron or non-alloy steel, cold-drawn or cold-rolled ‘cold-reduced’ (excl. line pipe of a kind used for oil or gas pipelines or casing and tubing of a kind used for drilling for oil or gas)
7304 41 00 Tubes, pipes and hollow profiles, seamless, of circular cross-section, of stainless steel, cold-drawn or cold-rolled ‘cold-reduced’ (excl. line pipe of a kind used for oil or gas pipelines, casing and tubing of a kind used for drilling for oil or gas)
8407 33 20 Spark-ignition reciprocating piston engine, of a kind used for vehicles of chapter 87, of a cylinder capacity > 250 cm3 but ≤ 500 cm3
8407 33 80 Spark-ignition reciprocating piston engine, of a kind used for vehicles of chapter 87, of a cylinder capacity > 500 cm3 but ≤ 1 000  cm3
8424 49 10 Agricultural or horticultural liquid/powder sprayers designed to be mounted on or drawn by a tractor
8424 82 90 Agricultural or horticultural mechanical appliances, whether or not hand-operated, for projecting or dispersing liquids or powders (excl. sprayers and watering appliances)
8424 89 40 Mechanical appliances for projecting, dispersing, or spraying liquids or powders, of a kind used solely or principally for the manufacture of printed circuits or printed circuit assemblies
8424 89 70 Mechanical appliances, whether or not hand-operated, for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids or powders, n.e.s.
8467 29 51 Angle grinders for working in the hand, with self-contained electric motor, operating with an external source of power
8544 19 00 Winding wire for electrical purposes, of material other than copper, insulated
8544 49 91 Electric wire and cables, for a voltage ≤ 1 000  V, insulated, not fitted with connectors, with individual conductor wires of a diameter > 0,51 mm, n.e.s.
8708 30 10 Brakes and servo-brakes and their parts, for the industrial assembly of: pedestrian-controlled tractors, motor cars and vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, vehicles for the transport of goods with compression-ignition internal combustion piston engine ‘diesel or semi-diesel engine’ ≤ 2 500 cm3 or with spark-ignition internal piston engine ≤ 2 800  cm3, special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8705 , n.e.s.
8708 40 20 Gear boxes and parts thereof, for the industrial assembly of: pedestrian-controlled tractors, motor cars and vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, vehicles for the transport of goods with compression-ignition internal combustion piston engine ‘diesel or semi-diesel engine’ of a cylinder capacity ≤ 2 500 cm3 or with spark-ignition internal piston engine of a cylinder capacity ≤ 2 800  cm3, special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8705 , n.e.s
8708 91 20 Radiators and parts thereof, for the industrial assembly of: pedestrian-controlled tractors, motor cars and vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, vehicles for the transport of goods with compression-ignition internal combustion piston engine ‘diesel or semi-diesel engine’ of a cylinder capacity ≤ 2 500 cm3 or with spark-ignition internal piston engine of a cylinder capacity ≤ 2 800  cm3, special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8705 , n.e.s
8708 92 20 Silencers ‘mufflers’ and exhaust pipes, and parts thereof, for the industrial assembly of: pedestrian-controlled tractors, motor cars and vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, vehicles for the transport of goods with compression-ignition internal combustion piston engine ‘diesel or semi-diesel engine’ ≤ 2 500 cm3 or with spark-ignition internal piston engine ≤ 2 800  cm3, special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8705 , n.e.s

As per the letter to importers and agents notification must be made using the ‘Notice of landing form’ and sent by email to the local Forestry Commission or DAERA-NI/Forest Service plant health inspector. This form is also used as the Quarantine Release Certificate (QRC) notification form.

The importer or their agent should provide at least 3 working days’ notice of their intention to land controlled material via sea freight, and at least 4 working hours’ notice for material landed via airfreight. Importers are encouraged to provide as much notice as possible to help with prompt clearance of consignments, which will be beneficial in terms of time and costs.

Plant health for WPM with commodities from China and Belarus

Our Inspectors will aim to determine within 24 hours of receiving Notice of Landing forms (excluding weekends and bank holidays) that a consignment will be either held for inspection or released CWE (Cleared Without Exam). Consignments selected for physical plant health check at the point of entry will be held either using a Port Inventory System hold or a direct hold request to HMRC. Holds derived by a Port Inventory System will be notified directly to importers/agents by the Port Inventory System. Holds derived through a request to HMRC will be advised via email from the inspector. Inspectors will provide confirmation that a consignment has not been selected for physical exam by returning the Notice of Landing form with a check against the CWE box, endorsed with a Forestry Commission stamp.

Where our inspectors have performed a physical inspection of a consignment they will provide details of the date of the inspection on the signed and stamped Notice of Landing form. The Inspectors will therefore be directly responsible for selecting the entries notified for inspection. Target inspection frequency is a minimum frequency of 1% hold basis for each of the listed specified commodity codes. Through their aim of achieving the inspection target, Inspectors will identify those consignments of specified commodity codes which potentially contain high risk solid wood packaging material and provide a prompt CWE for other low or no risk consignments.

Entries selected by the Forestry Commission against the minimum inspection level of 1% will only be released from a Port Inventory System hold after a Forestry Commission inspection has been carried out and/or the necessary quarantine release certificate (QRC) is endorsed by Forestry Commission Inspectors. In the case of direct HMRC holds, an endorsed QRC must be presented by the importer/agent to HMRC, National Clearance Hub for a Customs CHIEF Entry System release.

Complimentary to the new legislation (Commission Implementing Decision 2018/1137) the Forestry Commission may select for inspection any consignment from any country of origin which, in their opinion, has potentially high risk wood packaging material associated with it. This may in effect mean that importers/agents of the 52 commodities listed in the legislation will have other types of commodities selected in addition to the minimum frequency of 1% checks associated with specified imports from China and Belarus.

For enquiries, or information which might assist targeted plant health checks on wood packaging material associated with imports of stone or iron materials from China, phone 0300 067 5155 or email plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Exporters’ guide to ISPM15 compliant packaging - UK Wood Packaging Material Marking

Find out if countries you are exporting to require ISPM15 compliant packaging.

You can become a member of the UK Wood Packaging Material Marking Programme (UKWPMMP). Members get email updates to country guides as soon as they become available.

Contact us

Email: plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Phone: 0300 067 5155

Published 26 September 2018
Last updated 13 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. Inspection levels changes under Plant health for WPM with commodities from China and Belarus.
  2. Update to include letter to importers and agents.
  3. First published.