Week Nine,Legislation

chris dulcitarA week missed and a day late! Not very good, is it? I’d like to give a bunch of excuses about being busy and that sort of thing, but unfortunately they wouldn’t be true. I just haven’t been able to concentrate, but that has now been righted by a trip to the Oncologist to sort out the lump on my temple that has been growing for the last few weeks. So this week coming, apart from a blood test and a couple of scans, I should be able to get back on with things. :)

Some important legislation comes into force this week, namely The EU Timber Regulations aimed at reducing the trade in illegally logged timber, estimated by Interpol as 30% of the World’s timber trade. European suppliers of timber and wood products are now required to keep records of the sources of their timber.

Although this doesn’t directly affect us, as we don’t use imported timber very often, it will probably mean that the price of keeping track of where each plank comes from will be passed on to the consumer. From ukulele builders who get their timber from conventional sources, that will mean their customers, possibly you! Fortunately, if you are one of our lucky customers, it won’t affect you because all of our instruments are built from the timber grown on the Quex Estate.

Meanwhile, some 178 countries are this week convening to discuss the CITES agreement. CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and covers a number of timbers traditionally used in instrument building, as well as a number of the shell products used in their decoration. Again, none of the species we use come under those regulations, but something that is also being discussed, and has a lot of support, is the introduction of ‘Instrument Passports’. This is to ensure that various authorities such as the UK’s Revenue and Customs  departments cannot get carried away in confiscating instruments belonging to travelling musicians that are made with materials covered by CITES.

The details of the requirements are not yet set in stone, but all of our future instruments will be provided with these ‘passports’ so that our customers will be able to travel quite happily with them.

In the meantime, here’s a short clip of a happy customer testing his new instrument. :)

3 thoughts on “Week Nine,Legislation”

  1. I am really not sure you’ve got that right based on the legal advice I’ve had this week. I’ve been corresponding with a UK Solicitor specialising in EUTR compliance (mainly doing volunteer work for a few friends who are UK/EU luthiers and who don’t want to fall foul of the new EU regs).

    As you are putting that timber on the UK Market for the first time, you seem to clearly fall under the term of, “operator” in the legislation (meaning you have the responsibility for the due diligence headache) . I worry that your post calls attention to the fact that, despite your belief you are unaffected, you are an operator and perhaps even disproportionately affected.

    I only post this because the penalties seem to be severe enough to destroy small businesses.
    I have been in contact with http://www.michelmores.com (a law firm specialising in this) and they have given a lot of useful advice.

    I post this only to help you out. I think you’d do well to contact a solicitor (the one I’ve used or another) to confirm that, by putting wooden items on the market for the first time you are or are not an operator.

    I hope that is helpful.

    1. Hi Mary,
      Thanks for your concerns. I think you have misunderstood my meaning. Yes, we as Luthiers most certainly do come under the new act as ‘Operators’ and therefore must show ‘due diligence’ regarding the supply of the timbers we use.
      The due diligence procedure is up to the operator, and, as I already have a trace of the history of each tree/log that we use, occasionally as far back as the planting programme in place since the 1780’s at Quex Park, the new requirements will not affect us in the way that we do things, as our present methods more than cover the regulations.
      On top of that, the regulations are not retrospective and only concern timber that comes into our possession after 3rd March 2013, so I would interpret that as new felling (in my case) that happens after that date. As the majority of the managed felling that occurs on the Estate happens in the Autumn months, I have the summer to dot the Aye’s and cross the Tee’s in our record keeping. There is, of course, the occasional storm felled example, but I rub my hands together and take photos when that happens! :)

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