Giving focus to UK Timber Regulations

Giving focus to UK Timber Regulations

BLOG · BY TTF CEO DAVID HOPKINS · 3 June 2021

It has taken us seven years and more to reach where we are with EUTR on timber imports from outside of EU; now Brexit and the adoption of UKTR will require the industry to overcome some substantial challenges, not only for operators in the UK, but the entire supply chain in EU and beyond.

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Together with CEI-Bois, we hosted one of our most geographically well-attended webinars ever last week; giving focus to UK Timber Regulation (UKTR) and the changes being experienced in timber supply chains as requirements around due diligence have expanded to cover timber imports from the EU.

More than 135 people came together from 24 countries as our very own Technical and Trade Manager Nick Boulton discussed what the changes are with Adrian Hawkes from Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), and Rosie Teasdale from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) UK.

EU imports represent about 52% of UK wood consumption. While pre-Brexit these imports were exempt from due diligence by UK importers under EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), post-Brexit these exemptions no longer apply. All EU timber imports to the UK (except Northern Ireland) are now required to go through due diligence to ensure negligible risk of illegal timber entering the UK market.

This means our industry has seen and will continue to experience a significant jump in the due diligence requirements. While before 2021 roughly 10% of wood products required due diligence; a figure which represents UK wood consumption from countries outside the EU, with the inclusion of EU imports, now 62% of the UK’s wood consumption will require due diligence.

A couple of the key points I want to share from the event are;

  • There is currently no green light for timber products sourced from the  EU to be automatically regarded as a negligible risk, and access to information establishing product country of harvest and species is mandatory in all scenarios. 
  • Certification is a great supporting tool but it alone does not meet UKTR. Due diligence is required regardless of product risk level or its certification status.
  • TTF advises all UK operators to start putting in place clear information gathering and evaluation procedures for timber purchases from the EU through which a conclusion of negligible risk can be shown to have been achieved.

It has taken us seven years and more to reach where we are with EUTR on timber imports from outside of EU; now Brexit and the adoption of UKTR will require the industry to overcome some substantial challenges, not only for operators in the UK, a term which now encompasses most of our members, but the entire supply chain in EU and beyond.

This topic will continue to be the subject of great concern and debate for members in the months to come. Here at TTF, we will continue to work closely with members and our partners in the EU to monitor the situation and ensure there is a common understanding of what constitutes objective and reasonable due diligence and how this can be effectively achieved by supply chain stakeholders at both ends of the Channel.

To find out more check out the free interactive PDF we have created on UKTR for our Responsible Purchasing Policy Hub, which goes over the key differences. If you have any questions or need assistance with your due diligence processes, please do let us know (ttf@ttf.co.uk), and don’t forget to use our free guidance and Due Diligence Toolkit.

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