Cases submitted against UK timber importers

13 Apr 2017
One of Moody Decking's projects

One of Moody Decking's projects

A decision by Danish authorities to place injunctions on all Danish operators placing Burmese teak on the country’s market has set a precedent on other authorities including those in the UK.

That’s according to Peter Cooper, forests campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

The EIA has submitted cases to the authorities against several teak importers including three based in the UK, Moody Decking, Stones Marine Timber and DA Watts and Sons (Wattsons). These focus on the due diligence requirements of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR), which obliges companies placing timber on the EU market to identify and mitigate any risks of illegality within their supply chains.

“Denmark’s leadership in EUTR enforcement underpins similar rulings already made in Sweden and leaves no doubt that anyone placing Burmese teak on the EU market under current conditions is in breach of European law,” said Mr Cooper.

“With Denmark setting a clear precedent on a case submitted by EIA, we now expect authorities in Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and the UK to rapidly resolve the remaining 12 cases submitted by EIA.”

He added: “These are the three largest companies placing teak onto the UK market. They can’t conduct due diligence.”

However Myanmar’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) has reaffirmed its commitment to reforming the country’s timber production and exports to ensure illegal timber does not enter trade streams.

The organisation says it has been working on developing a comprehensive Timber Legality Assurance System that will meet international best practice standards.

And it also says the annual harvest level of all timber species will be reduced.

A spokesman for Wattsons said the company complied with due diligence requirements. Stones Marine Timber and Moody Decking were unavailable to comment.

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