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Volume 712: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to prevent the importation into the United Kingdom of timber from illegal logging. [HL4819]

The UK is currently tackling the illegal trade in timber through the European Union's Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process. We believe that it is essential that this work continues at the European level—otherwise the trade in illegal timber and timber products could simply be diverted to, or through, other member states.

The EU is currently negotiating voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs) with several tropical timber producing countries, from which all timber products exported to the EU will be guaranteed to have been legally produced.

The UK has also long argued for additional EU measures to support the VPA process. We are currently working with EU partners in taking forward negotiation of the due diligence regulation. The UK has been at the forefront of negotiations, calling for a prohibition on the first placing of illegal timber and timber products on the Community market.

Finally, we seek to ensure that the Government lead the way in demanding legal products. From April 2009, UK government departments now accept only timber that has been verified as legal and sustainable, or licensed under FLEGT voluntary partnership agreements. The Government are actively promoting responsible timber procurement in the wider public sector and are working with the Governments of other EU member states to generate a common approach to the international market and timber supply chains.