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The FLEGT regulation

Overview of the Policy

The UK government will introduce major new legislation to tackle the global trade in illegal timber. This UK wide regulation will implement existing EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) legislation. The EU FLEGT Regulation is currently being implemented into UK legislation and is expected to come into effect by the end of 2011.

This section aims to
give an overview of
the FLEGT regulation.
See also the latest guidance
from the UK Government:
Defra Briefing Note
on FLEGT Regulation

The EU FLEGT Action Plan
The Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan is an EU-led initiative aimed at tackling illegal logging by ensuring that imports of timber into the EU are from legal sources. It is the foundation of the European Union's efforts to support improvements to forest governance around the world, in particular in developing nations. The adoption of the FLEGT action plan has resulted in two new pieces of UK legislation: the EU Timber Regulation, and the FLEGT regulation. This page will give an introduction to the FLEGT regulation.

The FLEGT Regulation
The FLEGT Regulation has a narrower scope than the EU Timber Regulation in so far as it only relates to a limited number of timber-producing countries that have signed a so called Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU and have fully implemented all its requirements. The FLEGT Regulation makes it illegal to import certain types of timber and timber products into the EU from these partner countries unless that timber has been licensed by the exporting country as being legally harvested. For more details on how this will work, see the section ‘how will it work’.

What is a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA)?
A Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) is a bilateral agreement negotiated between the EU and timber producing countries. A VPA is a key part of the FLEGT action plan. Under the terms of a VPA a partner country agrees with the EU to implement a timber licensing system. From that partner country, the EU will only accept licensed timber products, and unlicensed products will be refused customs clearance so as to prevent illegal products from entering the EU market.

Which timber products are subject to FLEGT Licensing?
The precise timber products to which the FLEGT licensing requirements will apply will vary on the individual VPA, so may vary from partner country to partner country. However, all VPAs signed to date include all partner countries’ timber and timber derived products exports. See here for the lists of products for each partner country.

More on the FLEGT regulation on this site:

The information contained on the CPET website is provided on behalf of the UK Government as a summary for guidance only. Definitive interpretation of legislation is a matter for the Courts.

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