THE World Wildlife Fund has recognised South Somerset District Council as a ‘silver achiever’ for making sure that timber products its teams use are from legal sources.

Just under 100 local authorities have made a sustainable timber pledge as part of WWF’s What Wood You Choose campaign.

South Somerset is one of just four local authorities to achieve the higher level silver by setting up systems and processes to ensure that only legal and sustainable timber is used.

The council buys timber for making and repairing signs, steps, gates and fencing but the pledge applies across all purchasing, including office supplies.

Council leader Cllr Ric Pallister said: “This pledge makes complete sense to us. There’s little point in maintaining and improving South Somerset’s environment if our actions are detrimental somewhere else in the world.

“Council staff are working hard to ensure that we buy only sustainable timber products and that we have processes for checking and monitoring this so that we can change suppliers if necessary.”

David Norman, director of external affairs at WWF-UK, said: “It is great news that South Somerset District Council has completed the silver pledge.

“They have shown they are taking steps to make sure that everything they buy that derives from wood is not harming species and people in parts of the world where illegal logging is devastating the environment.”

Illegally logged wood threatens not only rainforests but also communities and species, including the orang-utan and gorilla, in places such as Indonesia and the Congo Basin.

People can guarantee that what they are buying comes from sustainable sources by looking for the Forest Stewardship Council logo.

The FSC logo means it has been sourced from well-managed forests according to high environmental and social standards.