UKWAS 4 has been effective since 1 April 2018, and FSC UK is eager to find out how the standard is working in practice.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be meeting with representatives of Control Union, SGS and the Soil Association to see what issues are cropping up at audit, but we’d also like to hear from certificate holders. Are there parts of the standard you find difficult to understand, or which you know are being interpreted differently by different users? Are there subjects on which you feel you need more guidance? Are there particular requirements you’re struggling to fulfil? Or are you finding that the standard is an improvement on previous versions, and isn’t causing you any difficulties? Any feedback, positive or negative, would be welcome.
Ultimately, feedback on the standard will inform the next revision. But in the shorter term we hope to explore other ways that FSC UK can help forest owners and managers to meet UKWAS requirements. Maybe there’s a need for greater consistency between auditors – we could convey that message and set up calibration meetings. Maybe there’s a need to share experiences and best practices – we could run joint workshops to put practitioners in contact with each other and with experts, as we have in the past with the Woodland Trust and Cumbria Woodlands on PAWS restoration. Maybe we will identify a need for a formal interpretation from the UKWAS Steering Group. Feel free to pass on any other ideas you might have, too.
Please send any comments to our Forest Standards Manager, Dr Owen Davies, at email@example.com. We welcome feedback at any time, but we would be particularly pleased to hear from you before the end of May so that we can start to support you as soon as possible.