EU Regulation 995/2010

The new EU timber regulations covering all wood come into force on 3rd March 2010. These have been introduced to prohibit illegally harvested timber entering the UK market.

Such timber finds itself into DIY stores, builders and timber merchants, according to the WWF it is estimates that up to 20% of all timber imported into the UK is derived from illegal sources.

This regulation covers all types of wooden packaging, pallets, packing cases drums and crates.   The Timber Regulation includes three key obligations:

  • It prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber and products derived from such timber on the EU market, whether they are of domestic or imported origin.  This obligation falls on operators, who are those parties responsible for placing the goods onto the EU market.
  • Timber accompanied by a FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) or CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) license will be accepted as legal. In all other cases, operators must exercise ‘due diligence’ when they sell imported and domestic timber or timber products.
  • Traders (those after the operators in the supply chain) need to keep records of their suppliers (and customers) for a period of 5 years. In this way the operators can always be traced

It should be remembered that articles manufactured from recycled materials such as press wood pallets are excluded from the regulations.

Given the nature of a freight forwarders business and the manner in which freight is received from origin on pallets complete compliance with this regulation may be difficult to achieve.  We would recommend that all Members contact their wooden article suppliers to ensure that they are aware of and compliant with this new regulation and also to ascertain what information they are going to supply to their customers.