WWF‘s Illegal logging government barometer shows the UK government, followed by Austria, as having done the most to implement the EU‘s Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement Governance & Trade.

The group names Ireland and the Czech Republic as bottom of the table of 27 European governments. In all, the report says 19 governments are failing to take any real action to implement the Action Plan successfully.

WWF says the UK is the only government which says it has helped to reduce illegal logging, via a partnership with Indonesia.

And it says Austria is the only country to set a timescale for the elimination of illegal wood products in its timber imports and domestic production.

“Four years ago the EU introduced a flagship action plan designed to tackle the growing problem of illegal logging,” said Beatrix Richards, WWF-UK‘s head of forests. “Today very little progress has been made and this is down to individual governments who have dragged their heels on this issue.”

WWF is calling for new legislation to outlaw the import of illegal timber and wood products into the EU.

A Defra spokesperson told TTJ that the European Commission is negotiating voluntary partnership agreements (VPA) with Malaysia, Indonesia and Ghana. Once agreed, EU member states will be able to ban imports of timber from those countries if the wood is not licensed by their governments as legally harvested.

“The UK government has committed £25,000 to help with the VPA process and other measures to combat illegal logging,” the spokesperson said.