New UK regulations come into force on 3 March 2013 to enforce the EU Timber Regulations.
The EU Timber Regulations:
- prohibit illegally harvested timber, or products using illegally harvested timber, from being placed on the EU market
- require those placing timber and timber products on the EU market for the first time (operators) to carry out due diligence on the source of the timber
- require traders in the supply chain to ensure timber and timber products are completely traceable.
For more detail please see 'Shiver me timbers: New EU Timber regulations that could put you at risk'.
Although the EU Timber Regulations apply to the UK without the need for implementing legislation, UK regulations were needed to create the relevant offences and enforcement powers.
The UK regulations create the following offences with a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine:
- placing illegally harvested timber or timber products on the EU market
- failing to exercise due diligence when placing timber or timber products on the EU market
- failing to maintain and regularly evaluate the due diligence system used
In addition further offences with a maximum penalty of £5,000 have been introduced:
- failure of operators or traders to keep and make available specified information
- failure to comply with a formal notice issued by the enforcement body
- obstruction of inspectors
Enforcement powers of entry, inspection and seizure of illegally harvested timber have also been created.