Forests: Environment Protection

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 4th December 2020.

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Photo of Daisy Cooper Daisy Cooper Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what penalties will be introduced to enforce the new law preventing illegal deforestation in the supply chains of UK businesses.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government recently tabled amendments to the Environment Bill to introduce new legislation to tackle illegal deforestation in UK supply chains. The amendments passed in the Commons Committee Stage earlier this week.

Our approach would make it illegal for larger businesses to use commodities produced on land illegally occupied or used, and make it mandatory for businesses to conduct due diligence on their supply chains. To ensure transparency, information about businesses’ due diligence exercises will be published. Businesses that do not comply with any one of these requirements may be subject to fines and other civil sanctions.

The Secretary of State will be responsible for issuing fines, supported by a regulator (for example, a departmental agency) who will be responsible for investigating business’ compliance. Details on enforcement, including the level of fines, will be set out in secondary legislation. We will consult businesses and other stakeholders further to gather views as we develop secondary legislation.

Fines are just one tool the Government will be able to use to enforce and deter breaches of the law. The amendments set out a comprehensive suite of modern civil sanctions, including stop notices and enforcement undertakings, which we intend to use to full effect.

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