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NEWS RELEASE No: 1664119 DECEMBER 2016


New notification scheme for firewood imports to protect against threats to tree health


Pile of firewood

A scheme to protect against imported threats to tree health will come into force on 1 January 2017.

The Statutory Notification Scheme for importing solid woodfuel (firewood) will require importers bringing certain types of firewood into England and Scotland from outside the UK to provide the Forestry Commission with at least three days’ prior notification of its arrival if it is coming by sea, road or rail, and four hours’ notice if it is arriving by air. The Welsh Assembly Government is expected to introduce a similar regulation.

The regulation covers solid wood fuel in the form of logs, billets, twigs, faggots and similar forms. All relevant consignments, irrespective of size or weight, must be notified.

The scheme will enable the Forestry Commission to gather information about the firewood importing trade, and to carry out risk-based and random inspections of a selection of imports, mainly at importers’ premises. This will help to ensure that the firewood or its associated wooden packaging, such as pallets and crates, meets British plant health landing requirements.

The move follows an industry consultation in which the majority of respondents supported the introduction of such a scheme.  

Nick Mainprize, Deputy Head of the Forestry Commission’s Great Britain Plant Health Service, said:

“The UK Government and the devolved administrations are committed to doing all they can to prevent plant pests and diseases crossing our borders. This new scheme will provide enhanced protection, adding to the wide range of measures already in place to safeguard our biosecurity.
 
“We work collaboratively with the international community, industry, NGOs, landowners and the public to reduce the risks of tree pests and diseases entering Great Britain, and to mitigate the impact of newly established pests.”

The notification system will require initial enrolment, followed by completion and submission of a notification form for each consignment of firewood being imported. Notification forms are available in downloadable and on-line versions from www.forestry.gov.uk/firewoodnotification.

Firewood importers wanting more information, and/or to request a visit from a Forestry Commission officer to help them get started, can contact its Plant Health Service at plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or tel: 0300 067 5155.

Notes to editors:

  1. A general guidance note, ‘Importing firewood – Requirements for landing material into Great Britain’, is available.
  2. Landings of wood pellets are not required to be notified because their manufacturing process destroys any hazardous organisms in the wood. Wood chip imports are covered by separate arrangements – see the 'Importing woodchip' guidance note.
  3. The outcome of the consultation was published on 29 January 2016 (see www.bit.ly/SNSconsultation).

Media contact: Charlton Clark, 0300 067 5049

e-mail: charlton.clark@forestry.gsi.gov.uk