Regulations: timber and FLEGT licences

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Guidance for businesses trading in timber and timber-related products.

First published 2 April 2014, last updated 1 March 2018, available at


Timber supply chains are regulated to ensure harvesting practices are legal, encourage sustainable harvesting practices and support global forest governance. Businesses trading in timber and timber products must take steps to ensure that they originate from legal sources.

Timber imported from countries that have implemented voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs) with the EU – currently only Indonesia – must be accompanied by a forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) licence.

The Timber and Timber Products (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2013 and the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Regulations 2012 (as amended) are the underpinning legislation.

What is covered?

The regulations cover imported and domestic timber and a broad range of timber products, including composites such as furniture, pulp and paper.

The regulations do not apply to recycled products or printed papers such as books, magazines and newspapers. Packaging materials are also exempt if they support, protect or carry another product, but are covered if they are products in their own right (or containers that give products their essential character, such as decorative gift boxes).

The full list of products covered by FLEGT is set out in the VPA with Indonesia.

Who is responsible for compliance?

Any natural or legal person who buys and sells timber or timber products already placed on the EU market – a trader – or first places timber or timber products on the EU market – an operator – is responsible for compliance.

Other Sections

Please visit to read the rest of this article, including:

  1. How do I comply with the timber regulations?
  2. How do I comply with the FLEGT licensing regulations?
  3. What is the role of the Office for Product Safety and Standards?
  4. Where can I find out more?