While the staunchest supporters of the United Kingdom leaving the EU continue to advocate for ‘slashing the EU red tape choking Britain’ – including scrapping basic environmental protections – a UK minister has pledged to incorporate the EU’s key anti-illegal logging measures into UK law.
Speaking on 7 February 2018 at the Confederation of Timber Industries’ (CTI) parliamentary reception in London, Environment Minister Dr Therese Coffey said that the European Timber Regulation (EUTR) and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) will be brought into UK law after Brexit.
“When we leave the EU, the Withdrawal Bill will make sure the whole body of European environmental law continues to have effect in UK law,” Dr Coffey said, as quoted by the Timber Trade Journal. “This means bringing into UK law two regulations that the UK timber sector played a great role in shaping: the European Union Timber Regulation and the Forest Law Environment Governance and Trade Regulation.”
The commitment followed campaigning by the CTI, which “proudly supports” the rules, to ensure that the UK does not scrap EU regulations designed to end the trade in illegal timber and to drive responsible forest management. As with much of the timber trade (FW 228), the EU legislation is backed by many of the largest consumer brands, which credit the rules with reinforcing illegality risk assessment and due diligence requirements across the board, thereby levelling the playing field and contributing to growth.