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Friday, 01 October 2021
Have your say on the revised UK National Forest Stewardship Standard and National HCV Framework

There is another opportunity for you to play a part in revising the standard for FSC certification of responsible forest management in the UK, as well as the framework providing guidance on the management of High Conservation Values.

Back in March we alerted you to the first public consultation on the revision of our National Forest Stewardship Standard. That consultation received a great response, with about forty individuals and organisations providing really useful feedback on the first draft. As many of you will know, the 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. Following FSC requirements, a Working Group, with balanced representation of economic, environmental and social interests, has considered all of the stakeholder feedback to produce a second draft. That draft is now subject to a further round of public consultation in October-November 2021.

“The UKWAS Working Group continues to do sterling work,” says Dr Owen Davies, FSC UK Forest Standards Manager. “Not only have the members worked carefully through a substantial volume of stakeholder comments, they have also been open to discussing some tricky topics, like the role of non-native species in our woods, and considering pretty sweeping changes to the standard, as in the section on pesticides, biological control agents and fertilisers. I would even go so far as to say that they seem to be enjoying themselves! As in the first round of drafting, Peter Wilson, the independent Chair, did a great job of keeping everything moving in the right direction and on schedule.”

The public consultation will run from 1 October to 30 November, and anyone is welcome to submit comments in writing. The consultation materials are available on the UKWAS website , including a template for submitting your comments. You can also find a report on the first consultation, detailing how all of the previous comments were taken into account.

Alongside the standard, we are also consulting on an updated National High Conservation Value (HCV) Framework for the UK.

“Having this framework is an important FSC requirement,” says Owen. “Our international Principles and Criteria oblige us to take particular care of High Conservation Values. The framework is a tool for the identification, management and monitoring of HCVs in forests in the UK. Your input will help us to ensure that the information in the Framework is up to date and fit for purpose.”

We’ve prepared a short video to explain the HCV concept and the role of the framework. You can download the revised draft of the National HCV Framework below. We’d be grateful if you could give us your feedback using this survey, although you can also e-mail your comments directly to Owen at

Once the consultation responses have been analysed, final drafts of the standard and framework will be produced in 2022, and prepared for submission to FSC International for approval. If all goes well, we expect the revised standard to become effective in spring 2023.

The strength of the FSC system lies in the participation of people and organisations with the widest possible range of interests. We hope you will take this opportunity to have your say on responsible forest management in the UK!

© Forest Stewardship Council® · FSC® F000231