Setting aside the Tories’ current election campaign knack of turning a PR panic into a pickle, politicians are still seen as the masters of spin. But Greenpeace clearly has its sights set on taking over the title.

The environmentalist group has recently targeted ‘actions’ against development projects that have received money from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The protests have focused on the alleged use of uncertified timber for joinery and flooring.

In its latest press release, Greenpeace says that the protests have had the desired effect. In fact its headline trumpets; “National Lottery Body Bows to Greenpeace Pressure and Commits to FSC“.

Following its apparent triumph, Greenpeace says it “would like to see further commitments from all non-governmental public bodies to use only FSC timber”.

From reading this you would think that the HLF is now insisting that any projects it funds use exclusively Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood and nothing else. The only thing is that’s not true. We called the HLF and were told that, yes, it is issuing new guidance on procurement and has confirmed its commitment to the use of sustainable timber. It is also happy for lottery funded projects to use FSC-certified timber. But it is equally happy for them to use wood certified under the Canadian CSA scheme, which recently received the same approval as the FSC from the government’s Central Point of Expertise on Timber. In fact, it will also accept the use of material from sources which can prove that they’re moving towards sustainability.

Greenpeace’s response is that, as it considers the FSC scheme the only acceptable proof of sustainability, in committing to sustainable timber the HLF committed to FSC. It’s a spin worthy of Alastair Campbell himself. But this sort of disinformation can only lead to polarisation and confrontation in the certification debate at a time when what the timber industry, the consumer and above all the environment need is for all the certification schemes and their supporters to get down to a spot of spin-free dialogue.