13 Jun 2011

PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE UK BAN ON ILLEGAL TIMBER

The UK Government will come under renewed pressure this week to introduce legislation to ban the import, sale and distribution of illegally logged timber products.

A Private Member’s Bill proposed by Brighton Pavilion MP, Caroline Lucas, comes up for its second reading in Parliament on Friday 10th June 2011.

The Illegally Logged Timber Bill (Prohibition of Import, Sale or Distribution) would make it a criminal offence for a person or company to trade in illegally logged timber and timber products.

The Bill was originally scheduled for its second reading in February, but was ‘talked out’ by MPs.

Caroline Lucas said: “I’ve brought forward this Bill because, after more than a year in power, there’s been no attempt on the part of Government to usher in the robust legislation we need to take illegally logged timber off the market for good.

“There is a significant loophole in the current EU legislation, which means that only those who first place illegally logged timber onto the EU market can be prosecuted and not those further down the supply chain.

“The Coalition agreement specifically committed to ‘measures to make the import or possession of illegal timber a criminal offence’.

“We were promised action but instead ministers are dragging their feet and making excuses.

“If the Government is serious about protecting rainforests, preventing deforestation and addressing climate change, it must not allow this Bill to be kicked into the long grass yet again.”

“The US made it an offence to trade in illegal timber in 2009 and the timber industry in the UK and Europe has shown support for efforts to tackle the issue – what is the Government waiting for?

“Any further delay undermines the actions of developing nations like Brazil, who have made significant efforts to crack down on illegal logging at the supply end.

“Those efforts are in vain if Europe and the UK refuse to do anything to choke off the demand for illegal timber products.”