1.The Committee has asked the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for a memorandum on the following points:
Explain what authority enables the Office for Product Safety Standards, during the period between the end of the Implementation Period and the date this instrument comes into force, to “consider a FLEGT licence [from Indonesia] as meeting the due diligence requirement for the import of timber” (as paragraph 7.6 of the Explanatory Memorandum asserts it will do).
The Department’s response
2.SI 2021/2 came into force on 5 January 2021. From this time, Indonesia was a Partner Country for the purpose of the UK FLEGT Regulations – and timber/timber product imported to the UK from Indonesia was subject to the FLEGT licensing regime. In the four days prior to 5 January, timber/timber product imported to the UK from Indonesia was subject to the UK Timber Regulations: .
3.Article 4(2) of the Timber Regulations requires ‘operators’ (i.e. those who first place timber/timber product on the GB market) to conduct due diligence on the timber/timber product to ensure it is legally harvested timber. Article 6 describes the due diligence system (including risk mitigation measures) that operators must use. The Office of Product Safety Standards (OPSS) investigates compliance with the Timber Regulations, and in particular, investigates compliance with the requirement that operators conduct due diligence when first placing on the market. In the case where operators placed Indonesian timber on the GB market between 1 and 4 January 2021, then OPSS will—when assessing compliance with the due diligence obligation—accept that a FLEGT licence was reliable evidence (for due diligence purposes) that the timber/timber product to which the licence related was legally harvested. As a matter of fact, the issuing of a FLEGT licence for timber harvested in Indonesia is good evidence that the timber was legally harvested.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
2 March 2021