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Public consultation on the UK National Forest Stewardship Standard – share your views!

We encourage all stakeholders to play a part in revising the standard for FSC certification of responsible forest management in the UK.

At the beginning of February, we announced that our National Forest Stewardship Standard was being revised. This standard is familiar to most forest managers as the UK Woodland Assurance Standard or UKWAS, and the UKWAS Company takes the lead in any revision process. A chamber-balanced Working Group has worked hard to produce an initial draft based on stakeholder feedback and recent changes to the FSC system, and this draft is now the subject of a public consultation.

“The UKWAS Working Group has worked incredibly diligently and intensively,” says FSC UK Forest Standards Manager Dr Owen Davies, who advises the Working Group on FSC requirements. “Under the current circumstances, all of our meetings have had to be online, and while that leads to welcome savings in travel, it does present challenges, especially since some members of the Group have never met face to face. But everyone has worked together in a very constructive spirit, regardless of their individual interests, and particular praise must go the Chair, Peter Wilson, for steering the Working Group so deftly.”

Some of the key issues discussed include forest carbon, climate resilience and soil protection. Changes have also been made to meet specific FSC requirements in relation to workers’ rights and to reflect the latest version of the FSC Pesticides Policy.

The public consultation will run from 1 March to 30 April, and anyone is welcome to submit comments in writing. FSC will host an online stakeholder event on 31 March at which Peter Wilson will outline the revision process and the main changes in the draft standard, and there will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions. For full details of the consultation, including a downloadable version of the draft standard and information on how to submit a response, visit the UKWAS website. Please take this opportunity to have your say on responsible forest management in the UK!

Once the consultation responses have been analysed, a second draft of the standard will be produced, and a further public consultation will be held; this is currently scheduled for October 2021.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with Owen at owen at fsc-uk point org.

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