The EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) came into force on 3 March 2013, making it illegal to place illegally harvested timber and timber products on the EU market. On 1 January 2021, EUTR became UK domestic legislation as the UK Timber Regulations (UKTR), which have the same requirements as current EU systems.
© Elie HakizumwamiThese regulations affect all those that first place timber on the EU or UK markets as well as traders further down the supply chain.
FSC International have a webpage specifically dedicated to EUTR containing regularly updated, detailed information. It includes question and answer papers, a downloadable implementation guide for companies trading FSC certified materials, compliance guidelines and more. You can visit this page by clicking here.
Under UKTR, business trading timber within the UK need to be aware who they bought the timber from and who they sold it to (if it was to another business), regardless of species, product or country of origin.
To comply with their obligation timber traders will be required to tell The Office for Product Safety & Standards (OPSS):
• Who they bought the timber from,
• Who they sold it to (regardless of species, product or country of origin), through evidence such as an invoice,
Both traders and operators (importers) will be required to keep records for 5 years. Operators are required to exercise due diligence to ensure that timber and timber products have not been illegally harvested.
There will be no changes to the current process for businesses importing from outside of the EU and UK producers first placing timber on the internal market will still need to carry out due diligence checks as before.
There will be no change to the way timber due diligence requirements are enforced and there will be no additional border requirements. However, failure to comply with the timber regulations and enforcement ranges from warning letters, through to court cases, to an unlimited fine and up to 2 years in prison.
Importers of timber from third countries already have to carry out due diligence checks, except if they are importing from a country which has an operational Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) in place and that import is covered by a FLEGT license.
Free guidance and tools are available on the OPSS website, and further guidance on the end of the transition period can be found here. OPSS collaborated with FSC UK on a webinar about the UK Timber Regulation which you can watch here. FSC UK's UK Timber Regulation FAQ document can be found here.