Forestry in Scotland after Brexit (importing and exporting)

Last updated: 6 January 2021

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. This process is often known as 'Brexit'.

The UK Government and the EU have now agreed a deal on their future relationship. From 1 January 2021 this new relationship with the EU will begin.

There will be effects on some areas of life in Scotland. This includes changes to forestry and the trading of:

  • wood
  • timber
  • plants and plant products
This page will be updated to give the latest facts. Keep checking back for new information.

Importing and exporting wood and timber products

If you import or export certain wood or timber products to or from the UK, you'll have to follow plant health regulations, restrictions and requirements.

These are in place to make sure each country's natural environment and plant-based industries are protected from any harmful organisms that may be found in wood, including certain types of:

  • insects
  • bacteria
  • fungi

The UK Government has more information and guidance on important and exporting wood and timber products.

There are different rules if you're exporting wood packaging.

There are also rules that apply to buying and selling timber and timber products. These rules require traders to show the timber was harvested legally.

The Timber Trade Federation also provides information and guidance for timber importing and exporting businesses.

Moving goods in and out of Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021

The UK government gives specific guidance on changes to some processes if you're moving goods in and out of Northern Ireland.

Forest Reproductive Materials

Forest reproductive materials (FRM) is the name given to materials used when setting up a forest, including:

  • seeds
  • cones
  • cuttings
  • planting stock

If you're involved in buying or selling FRM you should find out what you need to do to legally market or collect it. This includes how to:

  • register as a supplier
  • get master certificates and licences

The UK Government has more information on FRM.

Importing and exporting plants and plant products

You can find further information from the UK government on the rules for importing and exporting plants and plant products (including trees and timber).

You can also find information on the DEFRA plant health portal.

Recruiting people from outside the UK from 1 January 2021

From 1 January 2021 employers will need to have a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK. You can find more guidance on recruiting people from outside the UK on GOV.UK.

You can also find information on GOV.UK about the new immigration system. This includes:

The UK government have also created an overview of the new system for employers, with links to podcasts and videos.