Export of Coniferous (softwoods) and Sweet Chestnut (Castanea) timber to other EU Protected zones

Within the Single Market, plant health checks are focused on the place of production. There are no border checks for plants and plant products travelling between EU member states, although spot checks may take place anywhere in the trade chain. A limited range of material which host the most serious 'quarantine' pests and diseases requires a plant passport to facilitate its movement.

Where required, a passport is needed both for movements within and between member states and additional requirements apply for movements into and within EU Protected Zones (PZ's). Plant passports may only be issued by Producers who are registered and authorised for the purpose. Registration is free with no time limit.  To download a pdf version of an Application for Registration for trade in wood, wood products and bark.  If you produce, trade in (including import) or supply certain types of wood you will need to register, unless you qualify for exemption (the registration form refers).  

If it is decided that you must be registered to receive controlled material from other EU member states or to issue plant passports to export controlled material to other EU member states then you will be required to sign a Letter of Undertaking as part of the registration process which requires you to comply with certain terms and conditions associated with registration.  You will also be allocated with a unique registration number and your company details will be added to our Registered Forestry Traders database.

The landing requirements for controlled species arriving from continental Europe into Great Britain as a Protected Zone can be found in Schedule 4 Parts B and C of the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005.  For ease of reference, however, the following summary details apply -

Details of the landing requirements of other EU Protected Zones can be viewed in Council Directive 2000/29/EC (The EU Plant Health Directive) Annex IV Part B (pages 115 - 118)

Essentially, the same rules that are in force for the importation of controlled material arriving into GB as a Protected Zone apply when the same material is exported from GB to another EU Protected Zone eg Ireland or Northern Ireland etc.  One significant export trade issue relates to controlled material that is exported from the Pest Free Area on the West Coast of Scotland whereby conifer material with bark attached can be exported to the PZ's of  Ireland and Northern Ireland by a registered forestry trader who is authorised to issue plant passports for the material.  For details of the location of Pest Free Area in the West of Scotland  please see our FCPHN017 (pages 6 -7).

Exports of wood of conifers from other areas within Great Britain to Ireland and Northern Ireland can only take place if the wood is bark-free (in which case no plant passport is required) or if it retains bark it must be kiln dried and accompanied by a plant passport issued by a registered forestry trader.  This is because the forestry pests of concern to Ireland and Northern Ireland can be found in areas of Great Britain out with the Pest Free Area.   Exports of isolated bark of conifers must be accompanied by a plant passport after being subjected to an approved measure eg composting, heat treatment using a natural composting method and pulverisation which has been agreed by the Forestry Commission's Plant Health Service.

Further details about the regulations concerning the movement of wood, wood products and bark between EU member states please contact the Forestry Commission's Plant Health Service Enquiry Line on Tel: 0131-314-6414 or Email

New Import Requirements for Wood of Ash in Ireland and Northern Ireland

Due to the spread of Ash Dieback (Chalara fraxinae) in some EU Member states the Plant Health Authorities in both Ireland and Northern Ireland have introduced new statutory** import requirements for wood of ash (Fraxinus spp) entering these countries from third countries and other EU member states.  Details of these requirements are as follows -

Ash wood may not be landed from countries where chalara is known to occur unless the wood:

  • originates in an area free from chalara (and is accompanied by an official statement to this effect), or;
  • is squared so as to remove entirely the rounded surface, or:
  • is bark-free and the moisture content (mc) is below 20%, or;
  • is sawn with or without residual bark and has been kiln dried to below 20% mc and is marked accordingly, ‘Kiln-dried’ or KD or another internationally recognised mark on wood or packaging.

As the Plant Health Authorities in Great Britain have not yet identified areas in GB that are free from Chalara, GB Registered Forestry Traders will not be granted authority by the Forestry Commission to issue plant passports (official statement) for wood of ash being exported to Ireland or Northern Ireland. 

** New Statutory Legislation

Northern Ireland it is The Plant Health (Amendment No 3) Order (Northern Ireland) (SI 2012 No 392).

Destructive Insects and Pests Acts 1958 AND 1991 (Chalara fraxinae) Order (No. 2) 2012  S.I. No. 431 of 2012

Chalara dieback of ash trees