The BWF is urging its members and the wider wood-using industries to prepare for changes coming with the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of December. Currently, timber imported into the UK is governed by the European Timber Regulations (EUTR). From 1st January 2021 EUTR will be replaced with the UK Timber Regulations (UKTR) in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland will remain subject to the European Timber Regulations, as set out in the Withdrawal Act and Northern Ireland Protocol.
The requirements under the UK Timber Regulations are broadly similar to EUTR but with one significant difference. If a joinery business directly imports timber from the EU (receiving invoices for timber from a company based in the EU), it will now incur the responsibilities of an ‘Operator’ under the Regulations. Such companies will have to undertake due diligence to show that there is ‘negligible risk’ of the timber they import having been illegally harvested. This will affect larger companies who procure their own supplies of timber directly from producers in the EU.
If you buy timber from a UK company who has already placed onto the British market timber originating from the EU, you will still have to undertake your own due diligence in terms of responsible timber sourcing, keeping records of who supplied the timber to you, and to whom you may sell it on in the form of finished products or components.
A free Due Diligence Toolkit, available to the whole wood supply chain, has been created by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF), BWF’s partners in the Confederation of Timber Industries, and the government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. The interactive guidance will help you understand the steps that everyone in the timber supply chain can take to create their own robust due diligence system.
The Office for Product Safety & Standards, part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is the delivery body for the regulations and will continue in this role for both Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
What does this mean for woodworking and joinery manufacturers?
BWF members have a responsibility to ensure that the timber they source complies with current legislation. It’s crucial that members speak with their suppliers to ensure that they are confident that they are sourcing timber which complies with the new regulations. We are also urging members to check consistency of supply and pricing with their timber suppliers, especially for Q1 and Q2 of 2021.
The BWF works closely with the TTF and, in the case of TTF members, under the TTF’s Responsible Purchasing Policy, Operators must also submit their due diligence actions to independent third-party audit, ensuring that customers can continue to buy ‘Timber you can Trust’.