Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Questions (51)

John Halligan

Question:

51. Deputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the Irish Competent Authority, required under EU timber regulation, will be established; the resources that will be made available to the competent authority to ensure that it is appropriately staffed and is given the appropriate tools in order to allow it to carry out its functions as required under the terms of the EU timber regulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29380/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The new EU Timber Regulation (EUTR – Regulation (EU) No. 995/2010) is now in effect. It is part of a package of important measures aimed at ensuring that all products containing wood placed on the market in the EU are from legally harvested timber. It applies to wood and wood products being placed for the first time on the EU market.

I have charged my officials in the International Forest Policy Section, in cooperation with the Forestry Division, with carrying out a number of functions, as Irish Competent Authority, under this new regulation. The skill-sets available will be a mixture of administrative and technical knowledge. Over the coming period, to ensure compliance with these new rules, they will undertake a number of tasks:

- firstly, to provide information and guidance to the industry through use of the web and seminars or talks;

- to gather technical data to provide a knowledge database to take informed decisions and to advise on compliance;

- to plan for enforcement though various actions such as site visits and information sampling; and

- to effectively cooperate with both the European Commission and Other Member States to combat cross border infringements.

My officials have been in close contact with key players across Europe already with a view to establishing best practice in a number of areas. Ireland has been proactively involved in Brussels during our Presidency in liaising with the Commission in establishing effective structures across the European Union. Ireland has already established strong links regarding information sharing with two key trading Member States and is committed to add to this list shortly.