Timcon, the UK’s national trade association representing the pallet and packaging industry, has issued a statement detailing the new requirements that would apply to wood packaging material (WPM) should the UK leave the European Union without a deal in place in March.

The statement says that should there be no deal in place when the UK leaves the EU at the end of March then all WPM will become subject to ISPM15 regulations, that state all WPM moving between the EU and third countries must be treated to ISMP15 standard to cut the risk of spreading quarantine pests found in WPM.

The full Timcon statement is published below:


Controlled wood packaging material (WPM) made of solid wood is mainly pallets, but also includes crates, boxes, cable drums, spools and dunnage. Packaging material made entirely from processed wood, for example plywood, OSB and MDF, is not controlled.

WPM moving between the EU and third countries must comply with the requirements of the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measure No. 15 (ISPM15). ISPM15 reduces the risk of introducing and spreading quarantine pests found in WPM and involves WPM being treated and marked. WPM entering the EU from third countries is subject to official checks on a risk-targeted basis.

Currently, no WPM moving between the UK and EU Member States needs to meet the requirements of ISPM15 (except movement of WPM from Portugal and certain parts of Spain).

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, all WPM exported from the UK to the EU and all WPM being
imported from the EU to the UK will be subject to ISPM15 regulations.

This WPM will continue to be subject to low level checks either upon or after entry to the UK or the EU. However, importantly, checks are currently and will continue to be, carried out in the UK, on a risk-targeted basis only. The plant health risk from WPM imported from the EU continues to be low and this risk level will not change as a result of EU exit.

Defra will continue to work closely with the WPM sector and other Government Departments to ensure that burdens imposed on businesses, as a result of a no deal scenario, are minimised and disruptions to low risk movements of WPM are minimal. Defra believe that business is best placed to manage WPM compliance risk and will seek to continue to encourage compliance with applicable regulations.

This WPM guidance also applies to importing and exporting to Switzerland.


* If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK will request ISPM15 compliant packaging from the EU as per WTO rules, but will conduct inspections on a plant health risk basis.

Defra, TIMCON and the UK timber packaging industry are seeking assurances from our European counterparts that they will adopt a similarly pragmatic approach.

The TIMCON website will be updated to reflect any further developments going forward.