No-Deal Brexit, Heat Treatment and ISPM15

Tonight the Government voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking a no-deal Brexit off the table. However this really hasn’t cleared up the situation at all.

Heat treatment stamp on a pallet

From here there are still a variety of scenarios we need to prepare for. Firstly, a new deal – and we have no way of knowing what that looks like yet. Secondly, an extension of Article 50 – probably the sensible thing to do at this time but unlikely given the EU’s stance on no further negotiations. Thirdly and finally, if we can’t agree a deal and the EU can’t allow more time, that no-deal that’s just been taken off the table could be forced upon us.

So, even though it’s hypothetical, we want to help you prepare for the scenario that is still possible, the ‘no-deal Brexit’.


We Become A Third Party Country

In terms of trade, the no-deal scenario will be the most disruptive. We’ve recently written about the requirement for pallets entering the EU to be heat treated, and since we’ll be outside the EU in this scenario that means all freight going into the EU must be on a heat treated pallet and vice versa.

The problem here is that we don’t have the capacity, as a country, to heat treat the current volume of pallets that we send over the channel. So this is a challenge. If you think this applies to you, speak to your pallet partner and plan ahead to minimise delays where possible.



ISPM15 is the regulation that requires wood pest control on freight between the EU and the rest of the world. The full regulatory document can be accessed here.

This applies to all pallet wood and wooden collars or boxes, but not packaging made from processed wood, such as MDF.

Currently no UK pallets travelling into the EU require heat treatment to comply with ISPM15, and vice versa (apart from pallets travelling from certain locations in Portugal and Spain). Pallets travelling from the EU (including the UK) to a non EU destination are subject to ISMP15 and official checks on a risk-targeted basis.

Once we leave the EU, assuming we leave with no-deal, we will have to be ISPM15-compliant for every pallet going into the EU.

  • Heat Treated
  • Stamped
  • Subject to EU checks

The expected plant health and pest contamination risk from the EU to the UK and vice versa will remain low so, DEFRA and Timcon have specified that the checks will be on a risk-targeted basis only.

So this is potentially an area for future negotiation. But for now, you need to know how to heat treat and mark your pallets if you’ll be exporting to the EU.


What You Need To Do

Why not give us a call for a free review of your EU-bound pallet schedule. We can advise you on the process upgrades you may need to have in place to ensure a continuous supply. We can supply heat treated, stamped pallets as well as national pallets, and pallet collection or recycling.

Posted by Universal Pallets at March 14, 2019

Share this story: