EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) - 13th August 2012
EU Timber Regulation (EUTR)
In March 2013 the requirements of the new EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) start. The legislation prohibits placing timber on the EU market if it was illegally harvested. The regulations set out procedures for those trading timber within the EU which must be put in place to minimise the risk of illegal timber being sold.
The detailed rules for implementation are still being developed by the European Commission and Member States so things may still change. In particular, the secondary legislation setting out the rules for implementation.
Further information can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/forests/timber_regulation.htm.
The Regulation covers a variety of products typically; solid wood products, flooring, plywood, pulp and paper. Not included are recycled products, as well as printed papers such as books, magazines and newspapers. The Regulation applies to both imported and domestically produced timber and timber products
Regulation in brief covers two areas;
The majority of the requirements apply to whoever first places the timber product on the EU market. This organisation is referred to as the OPERATOR. Anyone placing timber or timber based products onto the EU market for the first time must implement a due diligence system to mitigate the risk that the timber was illegally harvested. The due diligence system consists of three main components:
Information: There are specific requirements for the type of information which must be available including information on the product and supplier, the country where the timber was harvested and information on compliance with applicable forestry legislation in the country of harvest. It is important to note that the operator does not have to have all this information directly, but needs to have ready access to it in order to make a risk assessment.
Risk assessment procedure: Each operator is required to have a risk assessment procedure which takes into account the information collected about the product and also relevant risk criteria. Risk criteria include indicators of high risk such as prevalence of illegal harvesting in the country of harvest or long and complex supply chains, as well as indicators of low risk such as certification or credible verification of legality.
Risk mitigation procedures: Where the risk assessment indicates that there is some risk of a product containing illegally harvested timber, risk mitigation procedures must be put in place.
The regulation does not provide much guidance on what these should be but does indicate that they should be adequate and proportionate and might involve requesting further information.
There are also requirements for traceability for all the other participants in the supply chain prior to sale to the final consumer. These organisations are all referred to as TRADERS. Requirements for traders:
Any trader purchasing and selling timber products which have already been placed on the internal market, must keep records for 5 years, which identify:
The operator or trader who supplied the timber and timber products
Where applicable, the trader to whom the timber and timber products were sold.
At the UK level the task is now for DEFRA to implement the EUTR in the UK, including the introduction of national legislation, and confirming the role of the National Measurement Offices as the UK's Competent Authority (NMO- formerly Weights and Measures). The Government will also outline the penalties that will be used within the UK. The UK proposals will be issued for public consultation in the Autumn of this year, before the Regulations come into force on March 3rd 2013.
The penalties may include:
a. fines proportionate to the environmental damage, the value of the timber or timber products concerned and the tax losses and economic detriment resulting from the infringement;
b. seizure of the timber and timber products concerned;
c. immediate suspension of authorisation to trade.
If the product is certified under a certification scheme which provides adequate assurance of compliance with applicable legislation then the risk is low. Both the FSC and PEFC schemes are likely to provide assurance of
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