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UK hoping for relaxed enforcement on pallets

27 February 2019

If the UK leaves the EU without a Brexit deal, strictly speaking, all UK pallets are subject to much stricter checks and regulations.

Under ISPM15 regulations, the EU requires pallets arriving from non-member states to meet checks and standards, such as heat-treating to prevent contamination.

Most pallets in the UK would not meet these ‘third country’ rules.

In a statement, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said: “In the event of no deal, all wooden pallets moving between the UK and the EU must meet ISPM15 international standards by undergoing heat treatment and marking. All wooden pallets may be subject to official checks either upon or after entry to the EU.”

However, the Government is hoping for relaxed enforcement. It added it no plans to impose stricter enforcement on pallets coming from the EU to the UK.

The statement continued: “Checks on wooden pallets will continue to be carried out in the UK on a risk-targeted basis only. The plant health risk from wooden pallets imported from the EU is not expected to change as a result of an EU exit.”

FEFPEB (Fédération Européenne des Fabricants de Palettes et Emballages en Bois), the European federation of wooden pallet manufacturers also supports a common sense approach. 

In a statement FEFPEB said: “If the UK will be leaving the EU without a deal, it does not change the plant health risk between the EU and UK and FEFPEB therefore strongly advocates maintaining the current situation – no ISPM 15 requirements for flows between EU and UK. This would be the best solution for wooden pallets and logistics in general.

“There should also be a pragmatic implementation and controlling policy, in order to allow an orderly transition period and thereby avoid a disastrous disruption of trade post Brexit. A phase-in period to increase and adapt the heat treatment capacity of the industry is essential.”

The rules also apply to other wood packaging material (WPM) such as crates, boxes, cable drums, spools and dunnage.