As the end of the UK’s transition period approaches on 31st December 2020 the current position advised by the Department of Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is that it will be a legal requirement for all controlled wooden packaging material (WPM), including pallets, crates, boxes, cable drums, spools and dunnage, moving between the UK and the EU to be compliant with the stringent requirements of International Standard for Phytosanitary Measure No. 15 (ISPM15) and may be subject to official checks either upon entry to the EU or after entry.
Since 2002, the UK has been part of the EU ISPM 15 exemption i.e. the EU area is treated as one country, with no borders and no requirement for wood packaging materials (WPM) to be ISPM 15 compliant. The purpose of the regulation is to prevent or reduce the risk of spreading quarantine pests found in WPM. ISPM15 heat treatment carried out on timber pallets is natural and environmentally friendly; it does not use any chemicals. This heat treatment (HT) involves placing pallets in a chamber where the wood is subject to its core temperature reaching a minimum of 56°C for at least 30 minutes, thereby eliminating all harmful organisms likely to attack standing plants.
The early considerations of Brexit and the loss of EU exemption status raised some concerns regarding the capability of UK and EU manufacturers to be in a position to meet the ISPM 15 demand come the 1st January 2021. However, for the last 12 months the industry has been looking to increase capacity through measures such as increasing shifts or investment in additional kilns. However, as we have now received formal Government notification that this topic is no longer on the negotiating table, we are actively encouraging that planning should be underway if this matter affects you. We shall continue to provide updates but, as it stands, the following criteria must be met: