EU: Success for environmentalists as illegal timber finally banned


The European Parliament finally voted 644-25 yesterday in favour of the legislation banning illegal timber in the EU.

This led to celebrations from conservationists and environmentalists and will hopefully lead to the closing of a particularly distasteful legal loophole, that has allowed this to continue, from 2012 onwards. Greenpeace report that it has taken "two years of difficult negotiations" and "while it isn't everything we hoped for, is still going to be a massive shot in the arm for forest conservation."

Obviously, timber is one one main drivers of deforestation and campaigners estimate that about 20 per cent of the timber imported into the UK is from illegal sources. WWF suggest the illegal trade has been worth about £700m a year to companies exploiting the existing loophole, and as Europe is the world's largest timber marketplace this news could have a massive positive impact.

timber in piles

Greenpeace go on to say "companies operating within the EU will be required to establish a traceability system for wood products, and offenders could be fined. If properly enforced, hopefully it will be the catalyst for systemic changes in an industry where illegal logging is all too common. It will also strengthen the EU's Forest law, Governance and Trade programme (FLEGT), a series of agreements between the EU and forest countries to try and stem the flow of illegal timber."

Related links:

Timeline of the campaign from Greenpeace's perspective

BBC News

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