How EU rules are hitting British forestry

30-Apr-2015 @ 13:0

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

European rules on marketing timber are harming British forestry businesses, an MEP has cautioned.

Conservative Anthea McIntyre said regulations intended to block illegally-sourced wood being imported from abroad were proving a big drain on domestic producers.

The West Midlands MEP issued the warning in Strasbourg during a debate on  the European Union's Timber Regulation, which the EU Commission is proposing to review this year.

Currently it demands that businesses marketing timber or timber products in the UK market undertake a "due diligence" exercise to minimise the possibility that they contain any illegally-harvested timber.

That means a burdensome investigation process, including seeking any evidence of lawful harvesting, before undertaking a risk assessment and mitigating any possibility of wood coming from illicit sources.

The legislation was intended primarily to deal with imports of illegal timber from non-EU countries, but is badly affecting woodland-owners in the UK where illegal logging is a non-issue.

Miss McIntyre  said: "The legislation may be well-intended as an environmental measure - but because it is over-prescriptive it has unintended consequences.

"Illegal logging has to tackled - but not where it doesn't exist.

"The UK timber industry entirely supports the principle of stopping the criminal trade, but the EU must come up with a better way of doing it.  We need to apply the regulation to third-country imports, but a blanket approach in the EU is not necessary given that the level of illegal logging is so infinitesimally small.

"We need targeted activity, working with problem countries to strengthen their internal governance procedures, so that the vast majority of woodland owners across the EU are not burdened with unnecessary cost or pointless bureaucracy."

« Back