The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths has announced £550,000 from the EU transition fund for a Wood Kiln Investment Scheme (WKIS).
Wood packaging material (WPM) is required to be heat treated to an international standard called ISPM15 if it is to cross into the EU from a third country. This new scheme will help fund more wood kilns to carry out the heat treatment, thereby ensuring Welsh timber processing companies are more able to produce WPM (predominately wooden pallets) compliant with this standard.
Presently, throughout the EU, approximately 40% of wooden pallets are treated to this standard. In a Brexit scenario, where the UK is treated as a third country, all wood packaging moving between the UK and the EU may need to be ISPM15 compliant. This could mean a disruption to trade due to both increased WPM controls causing delays and non-compliant WPM being sanctioned.
Wales has very few businesses capable of carrying out heat treatment to the ISPM15 standard, and this new scheme is designed to increase the ability of Welsh companies to produce wood packaging material to this standard, thus allowing them to trade freely when the UK exits the EU.
The scheme is one of the five projects being supported through the second tranche of bids for the European Transition Fund announced in July 2018 to support the agriculture, food and fisheries industries. It is open to applications from all Small and Medium Size (SME) enterprises in Wales involved in timber processing.
Lesley Griffiths said:
“This scheme funded through our £50 million EU Transition Fund will help provide timber processing businesses with the technology they need to treat wood so that it complies with the required international standards needed when we leave the EU.”
“This is one example of the innovative ways we are looking at to support organisations through Brexit, looking at what financial support, guidance and advice we can provide and develop to help them deal with the change. The fund will work alongside the existing financial support and guidance we already provide.
“Regardless of a no-deal Brexit scenario, this is a worthwhile scheme as, at present we have very little capacity in this area. It will enable businesses to prepare more wood packaging products for markets here and abroad thus boosting their trading potential.”