Forests area: 300 million ha
Forest owners: > 750,000
Companies (CoC): 18,800
PEFC forest management requirements in the UK are based on the UK Forestry Standard (complemented by the 1967 Forestry Act), which forms the basis for legal and sustainable management, and the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS), the national forest certification standard, and further defined in the PEFC UK Certification Scheme for Sustainable Forest Management.
The PEFC United Kingdom Certification Scheme for Sustainable Forest Management (the Scheme) was first adopted by PEFC UK Ltd in 2001 and then subsequently endorsed by PEFC Council in 2002.
Since 2002, PEFC UK has incorporated a number of amendments to the original Scheme. This ensures that the current version meets the requirements of the latest standards and guides set by the PEFC Council.
The revised Scheme is based on two national United Kingdom published documents namely, the United Kingdom Forestry Standard (the Government's Approach to Sustainable Forestry), which was last revised in 2011, and the Forest Management Certification Standard, which is known as the United Kingdom Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) (the Standard). UKWAS has also undergone a major review and thorough public consultation exercise between 2009 and 2011. The current version of UKWAS is 3.1 and this has now been endorsed by PEFC Council.
The Scheme is based on the subsidiary principle of the PEFC Council regarding the establishment of national certification schemes and will permit forest producers in the UK to comply with minimum requirements ensuring sustainable forest management. Its aim is to provide consumers with guarantees that the products with PEFC certificates are derived from forest management wherein there is consistent application of principles of sustainability founded on three basic pillars of social, environmental and economic understanding.
The UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) is a certification standard which sets out the requirements which woodland owners and managers and certification authorities can use to certify woodland management in the United Kingdom. The standard is the product of an inclusive and transparent process which has involved a balanced representation from the UK forestry and environmental community. It has been designed to ensure that it reflects the requirements of the Government’s UK Forestry Standard and through this the guidelines adopted by European Forestry Ministers at Helsinki in 1993 and Lisbon in 1998.
The PEFC UK Scheme has been constructed on the basis of the Pan-European Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management and the Pan-European Operational Level Guidelines for Sustainable Forest Management adopted as Resolution L2 at the 3rd Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe.
PEFC UK’s endorsed forest certification scheme is the UKWAS and this is undergoing it’s five yearly review.
A call for stakeholder comments has been made by the UKWAS Steering Group to inform the development of an UKWAS Fourth Edition which will be released in autumn 2016 http://ukwas.org.uk/article/ukwas-4-draft-for-consultation
If you are involved in any way with sustainable forest management in the UK, or have an interest in the development of the UKWAS 4 we would very much appreciate your input.