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Is your council barking up the right tree?

Councils across the South East have been urged chop down on the amount of illegal timber they use.

key_greenenvironment.pngThe World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has ranked all councils in the UK based on their timber policies.

It came as MEPs this week voted in favour of two agreements with Liberia and Central African Republic (CAR) to stop illegally felled timber from entering the EU.

Illegal logging is a major reason behind deforestation claiming 350 to 650 million cubic metres of woodland every year.

Local authorities buy a wide range of wood products every year from building materials to toilet paper.

Catherine Bearder, a South East MEP, is now calling on all councils in the region to review their timber and paper policies.

She said: "Illegal logging has caused major damage to previously untouched swathes of tropical forests.

"A great deal of work has been done at EU level to stop this happening. Now I want to see more councils ensuring they are careful about where they get their paper and timber products."

The public sector is thought to account for up to 40 per cent of all wood products entering the UK market.

And it is estimated 10 per cent of wood products entering the UK from outside Europe come from illegal sources.

But, from March next year, the EU Timber Regulation will ban all illegally harvested timber and timber products from the UK.

Catherine added: "People are starting to ask for proof products come from a legal and sustainable source. Maybe this will make councils think more carefully."

WWF has rated councils on a five-tier system, with red indicating no policy - or no response - and green for the best local authorities.

Beatrix Richards, head of forest policy and trade at WWF-UK, said: "Overall, the study shows a majority of local authorities still have a huge amount of work to do…"

The full report is available here: http://www.wwf.org.uk/news_feed.cfm?5864/Barking-up-the-right-tree-See-which-councils-use-legal-sustainable-wood

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