Plant Health - Forestry Commission

Agenda Item 7
Executive Board Meeting
25 January 2017
Memo No 3/17
To provide FCEB members with an update on recent cross-border plant health
When new Plant Health legislation is made in respect to forest trees at a national
level or by the EU this is implemented through changes to the Plant Health (Forestry)
Order 20051. Fees legislation is made in the same way but under two separate
Regulations to the Order2. Changes which apply in England and Scotland are made by
the Forestry Commissioners and those in Wales are made by the Welsh Assembly
Recent legislative changes
A Statutory Instrument was made in 2016 which amended the Order to achieve
three outcomes.
It consolidated a separate Order for Phytophthora ramorum,
implemented recent changes in EU legislation, and
introduced a new national measure introducing the statutory notification for all
imports of solid firewood, unless this was already required.
The fees legislation for England and Scotland was last consolidated and updated in
2015, and we have been seeking revisions to this to address Defra policy choices to
bring in additional income.
Consolidation of the P. ramorum Order
Emergency measures were introduced by the EU in response to P. ramorum in
2002. These were implemented by a stand-alone forestry Order in 2004 which was
amended in 2007. The forestry Orders have been revoked and incorporated into the
principal 2005 forestry Order in line with the principle of reducing the number of
Although the Order has been amended many times since 2005, these amendments have not
been consolidated into a new Order (so the Order retains the date that it was made)
The Plant Health (Fees) (Forestry) (England and Scotland) Regulations 2015 and in Wales The
Plant Health (Fees) Forestry Regulations 2006
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Implementing changes to EU legislation
The Order has been changed in regard to a number of important tree pests:
Oriental chestnut gall wasp (OCGW, Dryocosmus kuriphilus)
The pest was thought to be absent from the UK in 2014 so it was granted full
protected zone status through the forestry Order in 2014. The 2016 amendment
revokes the previous EU measures which did not prevent the spread of D.
kuriphilus in the other parts of the EU.
Xylella fastidiosa
EU measures to prevent the introduction into and the spread of Xylella were
introduced in 2015. The Order implements and strengthens these measures
following the recent outbreaks in Italy and France (and now Spain and Germany).
Asian long-horned beetle (ALB, Anoplophora glabripennis)
Strengthened measures against ALB include specific requirements for the import
of specified plants, wood and wood packaging from third countries and for the
movement of specified plants, wood and wood packaging within the EU.
Pine wood nematode (PWN, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus)
Implements a new EU decision with requirement to conduct annual surveys for
PWN, to undertake eradication and containment measures and amends the
definition of susceptible wood.
Emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis)
Temporarily recognises certain areas of the USA as being free from EAB (this
decision will now be revoked in favour of a systems approach to the treatment of
ash timber from the US).
Statutory notification scheme for imports of solid firewood
The notification scheme came into effect on the 1st Jan 2017. This requires that
importers of firewood give prior notification about the date and place of landing, the
description of the consignment and its destination after landing (see press release at
Annex I). Notification can be made by e-mail or through an on-line reporting system.
We have received nearly 100 import notifications and 15 businesses have enrolled online. One visit has been carried out where the condition of consignments was fully
compliant and two further visits are scheduled. Interceptions of non-compliant firewood
will be reported to the EU and to Defra’s Plant Health Risk Group to review the level of
risk and consequent actions. This intelligence will be used by Regional Managers to
target the activities of inspectors.
Fees Legislation
In 2015 we drafted a proposal to make changes to fees legislation which included
new fees necessary to recover the cost of monitoring Chinese wood packaging material
(WPM) associated with consignments of certain high risk commodities like iron and
stone3. After lengthy consultation with HM Treasury it was accepted that, in principle
that we could introduce these charges but, in the case of WPM, only if they are applied
15% inspection is required by Commission Implementing Decision 2013/92/EU
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to all of these imported consignments. As it is not feasible to introduce fees across the
sectors which are importing upwards of 16,000 consignments per year, we have scaled
back our proposals to only make a modest increase in the fees for plant passporting.
Risk assessment
A new EU Plant Health Regulation came into force on 14 December 2016. While
the UK remains part of the EU it will participate fully in the process of implementing the
Regulation by 14 December 2019. Defra is leading the process for negotiating the
implementing legislation with input to priorities for forestry through our cross-border
team in consultation with Country and industry representatives (see Annex II).
Discussions around the future of the UK in Europe will impact on this, and further detail
will be provided to the EB once the picture is clearer.
As a result of the HMRC ruling on fees for wood packaging material, we will be
unable raise income from any WPM inspections. This will impact on CFS ability to deliver
the projected income in the CFS business plan. We have suggested to the European
Commission how we might improve the efficiency of these checks by using prenotification to identify higher risk material. If accepted, we would expect to carry out a
reduced frequency of checks and to avoid an element of the Customs transaction
charges which apply to the Chinese WPM inspections. These efficiency savings should
help towards mitigating the failed WPM fees proposal.
Communications Issues
Importers of timber were informed about the changes to the EU legislation
through our regular newsletter. Known importers were notified directly about the
scheme for firewood notification and dedicated web pages were produced. A summary of
findings from visits to firewood importers will be included in annual reports to the three
Countries and indicators will be developed for business monitoring.
Implementation and Evaluation
It is not necessary to carry out an impact assessment for technical changes to the
EU legislation. A full validated impact assessment has been undertaken for the firewood
notification scheme and a revised impact evaluation has been prepared for the fees
proposal on plant passporting to take account of comments received from HM Treasury.
That the Board notes and discusses this update.
John Morgan,
Head of Plant Health,
Corporate and Forestry Support,
January 2017
Annex 1 NEWS RELEASE No: 1664119 DECEMBER 2016
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New notification scheme for firewood imports to protect
against threats to tree health
A scheme to protect against imported threats to tree health will come into force on 1 January
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,
“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
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
[email protected] or tel: 0300 067 5155.
Notes to editors:
1. A general guidance note, ‘Importing firewood – Requirements for landing material into
Great Britain’, is available.
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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
Media contact: Charlton Clark, 0300 067 5049
e-mail: [email protected]
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Annex 2. Publication of the new Plant Health Regulation
What is new?
The new Regulation on protective measures against plant pests (2016/2013) has finally
been published in the Official Journal of the European Union and entered into force on 14
December 2016. The vast majority of the Regulation4 won’t be applicable until 14
December 2019 which means we have three years to prepare for implementation. A
further EU proposed Regulation on ‘Official Controls5’ (which sets the overarching rules
on how we carry out plant health controls) is progressing more slowly but we expect
publication in early 2017 and application on the same date as the Plant Health
In practice, though the new Plant Health Regulation is published, the current rules and
legislation continue to apply for the next three years, including the process for agreeing
new requirements under the Plant Health Directive (e.g. updates to Annexes and
emergency Decisions), and you won’t see any immediate change in how you work and
carry out your duties.
What work is going on now?
You might already be aware of an implementation project, managed by Defra’s Plant
Health Policy team that is already established to ensure we have a thorough
understanding of the changes to our plant health services and requirements on the trade
and to start thinking about how we should approach implementation. This includes a
specific APHA work stream that’s being led by Derek Grove. There is still a lot of work to
be done on negotiating the detail of the requirements, which will be set out in later
legislative acts over the coming three years, but some of the key changes include:
The strengthening of the plant passporting scheme to include all plants for
A requirement for all professional operators to register and be competent in pest
identification and management;
Strengthening of the measures applying to new import trades which are currently
permitted without any prior assessment of risk.
How this will affect you?
The requirements concerned with the description and format of a phytosanitary certificate
issued for re-export won’t be applicable until 2021.
A provision that requires immediate notification of the presence of a notifiable plant pest applies
from 1 January 2017 but this is already transposed in the Plant Health Order.
This will include the establishment of new Plant Health EU Reference Laboratories likely to be
from the first half of 2018.
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There won’t be any immediate changes in how you work and carry out your inspection
and enforcement duties and plant health services continue as they are for the time
But we will be looking at how our plant health services might need to be adapted and
how to bring these changes in over the coming years and will need your help to do this.
How this will affect the trade?
Nothing will change for the trade immediately. The timeline for implementation is three
years and therefore we have been, and will continue to work to inform the trades of any
changes that are coming and how best to work with them to ensure we introduce the
required changes as smoothly as possible.
What you need to do now?
There will be an increasing number of briefing and information events about the
Regulation as well as opportunities to seek your views – please familiarise yourself with
any information that comes out and engage to make sure we successfully introduce the
new requirements.
Please do tell us about any views you receive from the trade in the course of your
normal duties and feed them back, but at this stage Defra’s Plant Health Policy team are
managing any proactive engagement on the Regulation with the trade centrally so there
is no need to raise proactively yourself. It’s also worth noting that we are all currently in
listening mode when it comes to views raised on the implications of the UK’s exit from
the EU and whereas it would be useful to collect and feedback any thoughts or views
that industry gives on this issue, we can’t make any assumptions about what will happen
in the future or offer an opinion on this.
Who to contact if you have any queries?
Your primary APHA point of contact is Derek Grove ([email protected]) if
you have any questions or would like further information or alternatively please liaise
with Nicola Hirst or Steve Wylie who are part of the wider APHA team looking at
implementation of the new EU Regulation.
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