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Wednesday, 01 July 2020
Public announcement of UKWAS review and call for stakeholder input

The beginning of a formal process to review and, if thought necessary, revise the UKWAS certification standard was announced on 1 July by the UKWAS steering group.

The UK Woodland Assurance Standard, or UKWAS, is the form in which most UK forest managers are familiar with FSC’s national forest stewardship standard. The current edition, UKWAS 4, has been in effect since 1 April 2018 and, in accordance with FSC requirements, must be reviewed within three years and, if necessary, revised within five years of the effective date.

An independent multi-stakeholder working group chaired by Peter Wilson will take forward the initial review phase to determine whether a full revision is necessary. A decision on whether to continue to a revision phase will be made towards the end of this year. If so, the working group will take forward the revision with the objective of a new UKWAS 5 version of the standard being in effect from 1 April 2023.

UKWAS Chair, Richard Howe, says “The review process starts with an evidence gathering period and we are now asking standard-users and stakeholders from across the UK forestry community and beyond to help us by submitting their initial thoughts and recommendations to the working group by the end of August.

“We will be initiating a series of reviews to collect evidence over the next few months but we are particularly keen to hear from standard-users and stakeholders from the outset. We also plan two formal consultations during 2021 if we move to a full revision of the standard.”

FSC UK is tasked with informing UKWAS of changes in FSC requirements since the last revision, including updates to the International Generic Indicators, guidance on High Conservation Values, and the revised Pesticides Policy. If the decision is made to proceed with a revision, Forest Standards Manager Dr Owen Davies will be making sure that any changes to the standard remain consistent with FSC’s international Principles and Criteria.

“We’re delighted to be working with the excellent working group UKWAS has brought together,” says Owen. “There’s a great mixture of old and new faces, with balanced representation of economic, environmental and social interests, and good representation of small and community woodlands.”

The working group includes representatives of the Small Woods Association and Llais y Goedwig, who are also involved in FSC UK’s Small Woods project.

Have your say

Standard-users and stakeholders should submit their input by Monday 31 August to UKWAS ask that you include a few lines about yourself so that they can better understand the composition of their respondents. You can access UKWAS 4 via the UKWAS website, where you will also find a detailed step-by-step UKWAS review and revision plan and timetable.

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