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CITES responds to licenses and the reuse of reclaimed woodblock

Posted on | By Thornton Kay
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Bristol, UK - Does trading in reclaimed hardwood woodblock salvaged from demolished UK
Victorian buildings fall within CITES regulations?

The response from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency of Defra was that if the wood is subject to the CITES annexes, then anyone removing such wood to be reused should contact AHVLA prior to reusing or selling the wood, giving the scientific name of the species, details of the future use of the wood, and details of how the wood was acquired, so that AHVLA can establish if further documentation is required:

This may result in every reclaimed woodblock floor requiring a microscopic analysis to determine its scientific name - which sometimes even scientists argue about - and then matching that name with the CITES database of protected woods. The future use of the flooring and how it was acquired may also be problematic.

Salvo will be following this up with Defra and the European Union.

These constraints will also apply to high value items of architectural antique woodwork and statuary. With some of the lower value reusable reclaimed woodblocks the additional time and cost of determining scientific names and applying for a licence could result in the balance being tipped between salvage and destruction, with it being burnt or composted. Not only is this against the UK Waste Regulations reuse before recycling principal, but it is clearly not good for the planet to be needlessly destroying valuable and rare CITES protected woods.

So, not for the first time, there seems possible confusion in the law and its environmental objectives. Salvo will continue to investigate this. Any financial contributions towards its costs from the salvage trade would be appreciated.

The contact details of the agency handling Defra's CITES obligations are:

Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), Wildlife Licensing and Registration Service, 1/17 Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6EB
Tel 0117 372 8774
Fax 0117 372 8206

Defra Salvo Directory 29 Jul 2011

Defra: Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency

Story Type: News