Timber importers and exporters are being advised to make preparations for product checks in the event of a no deal Brexit.
The Government says that delivering a deal with the EU remains its top priority, but it must prepare for every eventuality.
In a no deal scenario, businesses importing timber and timber products from the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) and placing it on the UK market will have to carry out checks from day one of EU Exit.
The checks known as ‘due diligence’ aim to demonstrate that they are importing legally harvested timber, helping to protect against illegal deforestation.
Due diligence checks would involve:
- gathering information on the timber, including its species, quantity, supplier, country of harvest and compliance with applicable legislation
- assessing the risk of timber being illegal, applying set criteria in the regulations
- obtaining additional information or taking further steps to verify legality (for example testing or assessment of the supply chain)
Businesses can either develop their own systems for these checks or use one provided by an approved monitoring organisation.
Companies that currently import timber from the rest of the world already have to do these checks and there will be no changes to the current process for businesses importing from outside the EU, UK producers first placing on the market, and internal UK trade. As before, they will need to conduct checks to confirm their timber is legally harvested.
The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) – the body responsible for enforcement – has been working with companies involved in the timber trade to keep them informed about what they will need to do in a no deal scenario and how to minimise impacts to their business.