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Last Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
EU axes wood and packaging rules
Loaves of pre-packed bread
The traditional loaf is a sensitive issue for British consumers
The European Union has decided to scrap regulations for timber quality and packaging sizes in a drive to reduce red tape, the European Commission says.

The "knots in wood" directive had set standards for the European timber trade since 1968.

The deregulation of food packaging means there will be no obligatory national sizes for bread loaves, making life easier for producers.

Packaging sizes for wine and spirits remain controlled, however.

European industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen said Monday's agreements showed that the commission was "working hard to cut unnecessary red tape on all fronts".

He said the wood directive especially had "become a symbol of unnecessary regulation".

The commission says it is the first tangible withdrawal of a European law since the commission announced its Better Regulation Programme in 2005.

In future, standardisation organisations will define rough wood quality for industry.

The measures have already been approved by the European Parliament.

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