§ Ms Quin
My right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment stated on 28 July 2000,Official Report, columns 947–48W, that each central Government Department must in future report annually on its timber purchases. This should explain what steps are being taken to buy timber and timber-related products from sustainable and legal sources; the quantity and types of purchase; and what assurances were received that the source of timber was sustainable and legal.
The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions will be issuing to Departments, around the end of March 2001, the questionnaire on greening government progress. It will include some basic questions on timber procurement. The report from Green Ministers, due to be published in November, will make specific reference to timber procurement.
Departments will decide for themselves what detailed information they will maintain on timber purchases and whether some or all of that information will be published separately from the Green Ministers' report.
The interdepartmental working group on timber procurement will monitor the whole process and will assist Departments and their agencies in working with 518W timber producers and suppliers; give guidance on best purchasing practice; set progressive overall targets for governmental purchases of timber from assured sustainable and legal sources; and agree appropriate targets for individual departments and their agencies.
On behalf of the interdepartmental working group on timber procurement, the DETR is planning to commission work which will identify the quantities and species of timber being sold to Government, the major suppliers and the options for assisting Departments. Promulgation of guidance and advice to buyers would follow, probably before the end of 2001.
§ Ms Quin
At present, Departments do not yet have systems in place to provide data on the proportion of certified timber purchased over the last six months. The interdepartmental timber working group is working to develop a common reporting template which will form the basis for future reporting on timber procurement. An annual report will be provided in line with the answer given on 28 July 2000,Official Report, columns 947–48W, by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment.