14 June 2012

Majority of UK local authorities lack legal and sustainable timber procurement policy - WWF report

More than half of UK local authorities still don't have a legal and sustainable timber procurement policy according to a recent report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) into public sector timber. The report, titled Barking up the right tree? found that despite upcoming legislation to halt the import of illegally sourced wood products only 16 authorities are implementing policy effectively.

The UK is currently the third biggest importer of products made from illegal timber in Europe, after Germany and Italy. The public sector, which includes local authorities, is thought to account for as much as 40 percent of all wood products entering the UK market and it's estimated that up to 10 percent of wood products entering the UK from outside Europe comes from illegal sources. The report also found that only half of the 433 local authorities in the country have a sustainable timber procurement plan in place.

Local authorities in Durham, Newcastle and Brighton were amongst those that took steps to improve their rating and scored towards the higher end of the ratings system. In total 16 were given the highest green rating. Beatrix Richards, head of forest policy and trade at WWF-UK, says, “Overall the study shows that the majority of local authorities still have a huge amount of work to do to comply with both the new law coming into force in 2013 and the government’s own procurement policy guidance to ensure they’re not buying illegal and unsustainable timber products.”

For more information, click here.