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ISPM 15: The International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 Regulation of Wood Packaging Material

What is it?

ISPM 15 is an international phytosanitary measure developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) that sets down standards for treatment and marking of Wood Packaging Material (WPM) and affects all WPM (pallets, crates, dunnage etc.) used in international trade.

Why is it required?

The aim of ISPM 15 is to prevent the international transport and spread of diseases and insects that could negatively affect plants or ecosystems.

What are the requirements?

ISPM 15 requires WPM to be:

  • either heat treated (HT), fumigated (MB), or Heat treated using dielectric heating (DH);
  • officially marked with the ISPM 15 stamp consisting of 3 codes (country, producer and measure applied) and the IPPC logo (see Figure 1 below);
  • debarked.

 

 

The requirements listed above do not apply to:

  • wood 6mm thick or less;
  • WPM made entirely from processed wood produced using glue, heat and pressure e.g. plywood, oriented strand board and veneer.
  • The vast majority of intra-EU trade.

 

Who requires ISPM 15?

The EU requires all WPM from 3rd countries entering the Union territory to be ISPM 15 compliant.

Currently ISPM 15 does not apply to WPM manufactured or 3rd country WPM repaired in an EU Member State and destined for use / re-use in intra-community trade.

For Ireland, there are two exceptions to the latter derogation for WPM manufactured in an EU Member State (or 3rd country WPM repaired in an EU Member State) and destined for use/ re-use in intra-community trade.

The first exception arises from emergency measures for a pest (pine wood nematode (PWN)) which is present in Portugal and limited parts of Spain and which requires that WPM made from susceptible coniferous wood may only be moved from these areas to the remainder of the Union territory if it is treated and marked in accordance with ISPM 15.

The second exception arises from the ‘Protected Zone’ (PZ) status Ireland enjoys as regards certain other pests and diseases (as set out in Annex II, Part B of the EU plant Health Directive). The PZ status enjoyed by Ireland means there are already de jure additional restrictions on WPM entering from elsewhere in the Union territory (over and above the emergency restrictions on WPM from PWN demarcated areas of Portugal and Spain), in that even if the WPM was manufactured (or 3rd country WPM repaired) in the Union territory and destined for use / re-use in intra-community trade, any WPM made from the wood of conifers or certain listed hardwood species must also either be stripped of its bark / be bark free, or accompanied by an official statement from the NPPO of the EU Member State of origin stating it is free from certain listed pests or diseases, or kiln dried to a certain standard (and marked to that effect).

Beyond the EU, most developed countries have adopted ISPM 15 as the required standard for WPM to enter their territories, with the effect that the majority of EU exports to non-EU countries already require the WPM upon/in which the goods are being transported to be ISPM 15 compliant.

 

Who is responsible for ISPM 15 in Ireland?

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is the designated National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) for the IPPC in Ireland and the implementation of ISPM 15 is overseen on an administrative basis by DAFM’s Forestry Inspectorate division.

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) operates the ISPM 15 certification scheme on behalf of DAFM. NSAI carry out the registration and auditing of kiln facilities, the registration of pallet and other WPM manufacturers, ISPM 15 marking systems, and compliance standards.

 

What is the legal basis for ISPM 15?

Council Directive 2000/29/EC (as amended by Directive 2004/102/EC and Directive 2005/15/EC) sets out the requirements for imports with WPM and dunnage from 3rd countries into the territory of the EU and its Member States.

The new Plant Health law (Regulation (EU) 2016/2031), the greater part of which comes into effect from 14th December 2019, carries over much the same requirements as are currently set out in Council Directive 2000/29/EC (as amended).

The new Plant Health law also sets out a future EU legal basis and minimum standards for the registration, authorisation, and supervision of manufacturers of WPM applying the ISPM 15 mark in the Union territory, as well as for operators engaged in the repair of WPM in the Union territory.

Currently, there is no specific national legislation in Ireland governing WPM manufacturers applying the ISPM 15 mark. Provision is made under Section 30 of the Forestry Act 2014 for the making of supplementary regulations in relation to the production and disposal (including sale) of timber products and in particular WPM.