A number of constituents have recently contacted me to express their concerns about deforestation and the sale of illegal timber. These are some very important issues and I have been pleased to support the Government’s robust action in this area.
The UK has already fully implemented the EU Timber Regulation which prohibits the sale and transportation of illegally-harvested timber into the EU. It puts an active responsibility on all individuals importing timber products into the British and wider EU markets to check that the wood has not been obtained illegally. In doing so it undermines one of the most important incentives for deforestation and should provide meaningful protection for forests as well as the people, plants and wildlife that rely upon them.
As a result of its world-leading work in this field, the UK has topped the WWF’s survey of national governments’ actions on illegal logging and trade in every year on record.
The Government also established the International Climate Fund in 2011 to protect forests and reduce pollution in the developing world. By 2016, around £3.87 billion will have been invested into the ICF, while £215 million will be made available to the World Bank to support projects specifically aimed at tackling the causes of deforestation. This is clear evidence of the Government’s firm commitment towards actively promoting sustainable development and the steps it is taking to protect forests internationally.