Plant Health Service - timber and wood import and export

Latest News

September 2014

Please see the import changes to our landing requirements for certain types of wood as summarised in our September 2014 Newsletter and detailed in our revision of our Plant Health Guide: Import wood, wood products and bark.

Newsletter No 32 

December 2013

China announces ban on the import of ash logs originating in the European Union. See details in the official notifications below - pages 3-5 in pdf document.





New landing requirements for wood of plane from 11th November - see our latest Newsletter for details

Newsletter No.30

Changes to Import Procedures for Stone products from China – 2nd April 2013

The Forestry Commission in liaison with Border Force and HMRC will amend Customs import procedures to ensure that the clearance of all stone products from China with Commodity Codes 2514 (Slate), 2515 (Marble), 2516 (Granite), 6801 (Flagstone) and 6802 (Building stone) will be inhibited pending a percentage physical examination.
The checks are in response to new EU legislation (Commission Implementing Decision 2013/92/EU) to protect the EU from Asian Longhorn Beetle being imported from China in wood packaging material which provides a pathway for the pest.

Asian longhorn beetle poster

From 2nd April 2013 The National Clearance Hub (HMRC) will hold all entries of stone products originating in China with commodity codes 2514, 2515, 2516, 6801 and 6802, and the customs entries will only be released after a Forestry Commission inspection has been carried out and/or the necessary quarantine release certificate (QRC) is endorsed by FC Inspectors and presented with the import entry.  Importers will need to complete an ‘Inspection Request’ (also used as the QRC) document.

Contact details

Inspection request form (pdf)

Word version

Copies of all Inspection request forms must also be sent to the Plant Health Service via email at – , or by fax to 0131 314 6148.  It is absolutely essential that all Inspection Request forms submitted include details of the Customs Entry Number and date.

2011 Country Consultation on draft International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs)

This year’s batch of draft international standards has been posted on the International Phytosanitary Portal.  Member countries have until the end of September to submit comments on the drafts to the IPPC Secretariat. As a member of the European Union, the UK discusses and prepares comments with the other member states; these are then submitted as an EU position.

We welcome comments from interested parties on the draft international standards and will take into consideration any comments received as we prepare the UK position for discussion with other member states. Comments are invited from anyone with an interest in these standards. Please send them to

As the discussions on an EU position will take place during September we need any comments by mid-August to allow them to be considered.

This year’s drafts can be found at this link and are summarised below:

1.      Draft amendments to ISPM 5. Glossary of phytosanitary terms

The addition of two terms is proposed: “confinement” and “exclusion”.

Revision of the following terms is proposed: “absorbed dose”, “consignment in transit”, “phytosanitary certificate”, “quarantine station”

Deletion of these terms is proposed: “certificate”, “gray (Gy)”, “hitch-hiker pest”, “legislation”, “plant pest”, “antagonist”, “competitor”, “control point”, “dosimeter”, “dosimetry”, “ionizing radiation”

2.      Draft revision to Supplement no. 1. Guidelines on the interpretation and application of the concept of official control for regulated pests (Not widely distributed) of ISPM 5. Glossary of phytosanitary terms

The term “not widely distributed” is used in other standards and in IPPC parlance. Defining the term is seen as necessary in order to ensure a common understanding. Limited consequential changes to the existing supplement to the Glossary on “official control” are proposed.

3.      Draft annex 4 to ISPM 11:2004. Pest risk analysis for plants as quarantine pest and consequential changes in core text of ISPM 11:2004

This annex provides guidance for conducting pest risk analysis (PRA) to determine if a plant is a pest of cultivated plants or wild flora, whether it should be regulated, and to identify appropriate phytosanitary measures. It focuses primarily on plants proposed for import and does not cover the unintentional introduction of plants as contaminants in commodities or conveyances.

4.  Draft revision to Annex 1 of ISPM 15:2009.  Approved  treatments  associated with wood packaging material

This revision would make various changes to the provisions in the Annex in respect of the use of fumigation and heat treatment of wood packing material, including in respect of dielectric heat treatment (which is proposed for adoption under point 7, below)

5. Draft Annex to ISPM 28:2007. Heat treatment of wood packaging material using dielectric heat

Recognition of a heat treatment technique using dielectric heat is proposed. (Updated 8 July 2011)

 The Plant Health Service is at the Forestry Commission office in Edinburgh, where the Head of Plant Health and Operations Manager are based. There are two regional officers who support Plant Health Inspectors over the whole of Great Britain. Their regions are North, (Scotland, North England as far south as the counties of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, North Yorkshire excluding Humber ports and North Wales) and South (all counties of England south of those mentioned and South Wales). We keep our clients informed of the rules and other significant items of interest by publishing regular Plant Health Newsletters. We aim to publish these at six-monthly intervals. We also publish a range of advisory leaflets and posters, which can be ordered, usually free of charge, from the Plant Health Service at the Forestry Commission Edinburgh Office.


It is absolutely essential that all Inspection Request forms submitted include details of the Customs Entry Number and date.

Last updated: 11/20/2014

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