New regulation has been approved by both the European Parliament and the European Council to prohibit the sale of illegally logged timber. The onus of due diligence will be placed on each individual company to ensure the timber they are selling has been harvested legally and in keeping with the laws of the timber’s country of origin.
One of the first responsibilities of the new regulations, known as the FLEGT Action Plan, will be to examine the legislation which currently exists in EU member states to ensure it allows further action against those parties that are logging timber illegally. If this provision is not in place then it is the aim of the FLEGT Action Plan to introduce additional legislation so action can be taken if a contravention takes place.
The new legislation, which was first drafted back in November 2010, has been created to work alongside the existing EU FLEGT licensing system. It is the role of the FLEGT licensing system to identify which timber products have been made from legally harvested timber. These products are then licensed for import to the EU.
Currently the system is being developed with the introduction of a series of voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs) which are being negotiated with cooperating producer countries. There are a number of timber exporting countries that are reluctant to join these voluntary partnership agreements for various reasons. Some of those countries showing reluctance to join the VPAs are biding their time until the measures that will be taken to exclude illegal products are finalised, with further debate as to what comprises ‘additional options’ still to come.
The date for the EU legislation to come into force has been set for March 2013, and is similar to the Lacey Act in America, which was extended by Congress in 2008 to regulate timber products as well as the import of fish and wildlife.
If you require any further information about the new regulations or would like to know whether the sale of wood flooring products here in the UK is likely to be affected, please do not hesitate to contact us here at Floormaker.