Ranking 22 EU member states and Switzerland on their actions and attitudes towards illegal logging, the wildlife group concluded that no government is doing enough.

The UK tops the ratings, scoring 13 out of a possible 18 points on a scale measuring performance on issues such as developing a voluntary licensing scheme for loggers, projects to reduce illegal logging and changing procurement rules to ensure that public money is not used to buy illegal wood products.

However, the UK’s score slid backwards between 2005 and 2006. Only the Netherlands won a significant improvement in its rating.

The WWF expressed concern that most of the improvements were down to a shift towards more public condemnation of illegal logging, not concrete actions such as a commitment to only buy timber from sustainable plantations.

Karin Wessman, illegal logging co-ordinator at WWF International, said: “Alarmingly, none of the surveyed governments could proof effective implementation of their policies and guarantee that their tax payers’ money is not fuelling illegal logging.”

Beatrix Richards, forestry policy specialist at WWF, said: “Although support for EU action is laudable and needed, it will not be enough to tackle the global problem of illegal and destructive logging. The EU is a major consumer of illegal timber from around the world, but the EU governments are failing to drive sufficient demand for legal and sustainable timber and wood products.”

Some countries failed to satisfy any of the WWF’s demands on timber – Ireland only managed to score two points, and the government refused to co-operate with the study.

Jess McCabe

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