Central Point of Expertise on Timber
CPET is a Defra funded service providing free practical advice aimed at helping busy buyers and suppliers.

UK Public Procurement Policy on Timber

The UK Government’s timber procurement policy requires that all timber and wood-derived products must be from only independently verifiable legal and sustainable sources which can include from a licensed Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) partner) will be demanded for use on the government estate.

Appropriate documentation will be required to prove it. Timber which only meets the legality criteria will be accepted in very special cases only, although exemptions to the policy do exist. As an alternative, contracting authorities can demand recycled timber.

The policy is mandatory for all Central Government Departments, Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies. Local authorities, other public bodies and the private sector are also encouraged to adopt sustainable timber procurement policies.


The UK government has introduced major new domestic legislation to tackle the global trade in illegal timber which came into effect in 2013.

This UK wide regulation will implement existing EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) legislation. This will require importers of timber from countries with whom the EU has signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to obtain a FLEGT license to import timber into the UK.

The FLEGT Regulation makes it illegal to import certain types of timber and timber products into the EU from these so-called VPA partner countries unless that timber has been licensed by the exporting country as being legally harvested.

The EU FLEGT Regulation has been implemented into UK legislation as of 20 February 2012, but it will not be effective until the first VPA country is listed on the Annex to the Regulation.

Importers will need to have a FLEGT licence to import timber from those countries listed on the Annex to the Regulation, i.e those with whom the EU has concluded a Voluntary Partnership Agreement.

The FLEGT Regulation will apply from when the first FLEGT licensed timber become available on the EU market.