Brexit, plant health and CE marking

Brexit, plant health and CE marking


We have addressed many practical aspects of Brexit over recent months, however, an area where essential official information has been particularly lacking is around UK plant health requirements, which will, as of 1 January 2021, be imposed on European imports of wood and wood products.

Recently published draft legislation has made clearer what plant health requirements wood and wood products may face. There is a lot to be unpicked, but among the broad themes it appears:

  1. Softwood traders: The trade of wood products from Coniferous trees will continue largely as it does now, as woods with bark will face plant health controls, while processed woods fully debarked, except from Portugal and Spain, can travel unheeded.
  2. Wood Based Panel traders: The trade of fully processed wood products exposed to sufficient pressure and heat, can continue unheeded.
  3. Hardwood traders: The trade of hardwood species will see the most significant changes, with new requirements for European hardwood species such as Beech, Birch and Ash (but excluding Oak) to protect UK forests against Asian longhorn Beetle and other pests.
  4. Systemic changes: Plant passports are being replaced with phytosanitary certificates for EU imports, and businesses must register their premises with the Forestry Commission and notify in advance shipments of regulated wood products

It is important every member takes the time to assess any risk to their products from these changes, as there is a lot of underlying detail which may affect your business. Your imports could face delays if you do not meet all the requirements laid out, and we advise all members to take precautionary steps.

For example, while on the surface the import of processed EU softwood products may seem to be consistent, you could be caught out by the packaging you use, as from 1 January 2021 all packaging will need to be ISPM15 compliant and marked.

We have written a full article that goes into further details on these requirements, and we advise all members to read it. I will go into further details on the plant health in our online event, Brexit and the timber supply chain, which I advise members to register for now to secure a place.

Today at the TTF we also added further information on CE Marking, and I would again like to remind members of the importance of manufacturers who currently use a UK Notified Body of ensuring they will continue meet their needs.

For more information on Brexit, visit our Brexit page

Join thousands of people who get the latest insights and stats from experts across the timber industry by subscribing to our newsletter, and by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


* indicates required