Register as a Professional Operator to issue Plant Passports

Become a registered Professional Operator to import or export wood, wood products and bark or get approval to issue Plant Passports or apply the ISPM15 mark.

What are the new regulations and when do they start?

A new set of European regulations collectively known as Smarter rules for safer food (SRSF), which includes the Plant Heath Regulation (PHR) and the Official Controls Regulation (OCR), was applied to the UK forestry sector on 14 December 2019.

They replace legislation that covered registration as a Registered Forestry Trader (RFT) with new legislation relating to registration as a Professional Operator.

Under the new regulations, commercial movements of certain types of regulated wood, wood products and bark within Great Britain and to relevant protected zones must be accompanied by Plant Passports.

These include:

  • all conifer wood with bark and all isolated bark of conifers, large conifer trees less than 3m and foliage from these trees
  • all sweet chestnut wood with bark and isolated bark of sweet chestnut

The adoption of timber plant passporting for the movement of regulated material within Great Britain is now a legal requirement and will demonstrate that the forestry industry is committed to the highest standards of biosecurity. Furthermore, the use of Plant Passports will improve awareness within the forestry industry of biosecurity threats posed by harmful quarantine tree pests such as the eight toothed spruce bark beetle - Ips typographus, an outbreak of which is currently undergoing eradication in southern England.

If you, or your business, are involved with the movement of plant health forestry regulated material then you are advised to check whether you are affected by the new regulations. If you are affected, then you must register as a Professional Operator.

Register as a Professional Operator

Complete this form to register as a Professional Operator: Professional Operator – application form for registration. Use the Professional operator registration guidance note (ODT, 8.44KB) to help complete the form.

Use this form to submit your Professional Operator details if you carry out one or more of the following activities:

  • importing or exporting controlled wood, wood products or bark
  • issuing Plant Passports
  • applying the ISPM 15 mark as part of the United Kingdom Wood Packaging Material Marketing Programme

If you are currently a Registered Forestry Trader (RFT) or are approved to apply ISPM15 marks to wood packaging material then the Forestry Commission will automatically register you as a Professional Operator and will advise you of your Professional Operator registration number.

You will be asked to provide general information about the nature of your forestry business and to supply your address and contact details. New applicants should receive confirmation of their submission within 5 working days.

If your business is involved only in importing or exporting controlled wood, wood products or bark you will receive confirmation of your registration. Additionally, if you need to issue Plant Passports or apply the ISPM 15 mark you will also need to become an authorised Professional Operator using the process below.

Request to become authorised to issue Plant Passports

Once you are registered as a Professional Operator you can apply to be authorised to issue Plant Passports. In order to understand what is involved in issuing Plant Passports we strongly recommend that you complete our e-learning module.

Complete the e-learning module on Plant Passports.

Once you click on the above link you will be taken to the Plant Passports landing page. To access the learning module log in as a guest and read the slides before completing the test at the end to gain your knowledge score.

Once you have completed the e-learning, you must provide your knowledge score to the Plant Health Forestry team. To do so, add your name and registration number and send a screeshot of the results as a PDF to the Plant Health Forestry team at will confirm your Professional Operator authorisation status to issue Plant Passports.

For RFTs who have automatically been registered as Professional Operators, you will have to complete the e-learning module on Plant Passports to continue to receive your annual approval to issue Plant Passports.

Authorisation to become approved to apply ISPM15 marks to wood packaging material for export

Those wood packaging material manufacturers and treatment providers already approved to apply ISPM15 marks under the UK Wood Packaging Material Marking Programme (UKWPMMP) will also be automatically registered as Professional Operators. These Professional Operators are simply required to maintain a record of their Professional Operator registration number which will differ from their site specific ISPM15 marks. The Professional Operator registration number will be company specific and not site specific i.e. only one Professional Operator number is required per company.

New applicants to the UKWPMMP via TIMCON (from 14 December 2019) to apply ISPM15 marks will also have to submit a Professional Operator application to the Forestry Commission to become registered under the SRSF Regulations.

Authorisation to apply ISPM15 marks for the time being will continue to be provided via the UKWPMMP. We will advise you of any changes to this process in the future should they be required.

The Forestry Commission and TIMCON will liaise over the registration of a company as a Professional Operator.

Published 18 December 2019