1.1 Compliance and conformance
There shall be compliance with the law. There shall be no substantiated outstanding claims of non-compliance related to woodland management.OPEN
The certification standard does not go into detail in all areas covered by UK legislation. The appendix of references provides a non-exhaustive list of relevant legislation.
Certification bodies will be checking that there is no evidence of non-compliance with relevant legal requirements including that:
- Management and workers understand and comply with all legal requirements relevant to their roles and responsibilities
- All documentation including procedures, work instructions, contracts and agreements meet legal requirements and are respected
- No issues of legal non-compliance are raised by regulatory authorities or other interested parties.
In the event of a perceived conflict between the requirements of the certification standard and legal requirements, owners/managers should seek guidance from the UKWAS Interpretation Panel.
- No evidence of non-compliance from audit
- Evidence of correction of any previous non-compliance
- A system to be aware of and implement requirements of new legislation.
There shall be conformance to the spirit of any relevant codes of practice or good practice guidelines.OPEN
The appendix of references provides further information on good practice guidelines and codes of practice.
Conformance to the spirit means that the owner/manager is aiming to achieve the principles set out in relevant codes of practice or good practice guidelines and that:
- Management and workers understand and conform to the spirit of codes and guidelines relevant to their roles and responsibilities
- All documentation including procedures, work instructions and contracts conform to the spirit of relevant codes and guidelines.
In the event of a perceived conflict between the requirements of the certification standard and relevant codes and guidelines, owners/managers should seek guidance from the UKWAS Interpretation Panel.
- No evidence of non-conformance from audit
- Evidence of correction of any previous non-conformance
- A system to be aware of and conform to new codes of practice and good practice guidelines.
a) The legal identity of the owner/manager shall be documented.
b) The boundaries of the owner’s/manager’s legal ownership or tenure shall be documented.
c) The scope of the owner’s/manager’s legal rights to manage the WMU and to harvest products and/or supply services from within the WMU shall be documented.
d) Legal authority to carry out specific operations, where required by the relevant authorities, shall be documented.
e) Payment shall be made in a timely manner of all applicable legally prescribed charges connected with forest management.OPEN
Long-term unchallenged use might be demonstrated by the existence of previous grant scheme documentation or long-term certification to this standard.
Examples of circumstances which may affect the scope of the owner’s/manager’s legal rights to manage the WMU and to harvest products and/or supply services from within it include:
- The sporting or mineral rights are held by third parties
- The owner/manager is bound by a restrictive covenant
- The WMU is managed under a forestry-only lease.
See the section on third-party rights in the introduction.
Depending on the nature of woodland operations, the competent authorities providing legal authorisation may include the relevant forestry authorities, statutory nature conservation and countryside agencies, statutory environment protection agencies, statutory historic environment agencies, or local authorities.
Legally prescribed charges connected with forest management may include fees for licences or permissions, or grant repayments where grant conditions have not been fulfilled.
- Long-term unchallenged use
- Integrated Agriculture Control System (IACS) registration
- A signed declaration detailing nature and location of tenure documentation
- Solicitor’s letter
- Title deeds
- Land registry records
- Companies House records
- Written permissions from competent authorities
- Records of payments.
a) Mechanisms shall be employed to identify, prevent and resolve disputes over tenure claims and use rights through appropriate consultation with interested parties.
b) Where possible, the owner/manager shall seek to resolve disputes out of court and in a timely manner.OPEN
Unresolved disputes of substantial magnitude involving a significant number of interests will normally disqualify an entity from being certified.
Examples of relevant tenure claims and use rights may include:
- Water supplies
- Joint access routes
- Shooting rights.
Use of dispute resolution mechanism.
a) The owner/manager shall:
- Commit to conformance to this certification standard, and
- Have declared an intention to protect and maintain the woodland management unit and its ecological integrity in the long term.
b) A statement of these commitments shall be made publicly available upon request.OPEN
Workers, licensees and leaseholders should be informed of the aim of the certification standard and, to the degree that is relevant, of the practical implications for them in carrying out their activities. This might be done through, for example, meetings or briefings and the provision of appropriate written material.
If a substantial failure has led to withdrawal of a woodland certification to this standard in the past, then substantial changes in ownership, policy commitment and management regime should have been implemented or a two-year track record of conformance established.
Advice to owners/managers
Owners/managers may be subject to additional requirements from their certification scheme relating to any adjustment of the area in the woodland management unit. Owners/managers are advised to seek guidance from their certification body or group scheme manager.
- Signed declaration of commitment
- Dissemination of the requirements of this certification standard to workers, licensees and leaseholders
- Public statement of policy.
a) There shall be conformance to guidance on anti-corruption legislation.OPEN
There shall be compliance with legislation relating to the transportation and trade of forest products, including, where relevant, the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and phytosanitary requirements.OPEN
The owner/manager should comply with any relevant phytosanitary movement licences and other statutory plant health requirements.
In rare cases the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) may apply. The import, export and use for commercial gain of certain species requires a CITES permit. CITES species present in the UK include Snowdrops (Galanthus spp.) and Monkey-puzzle (Araucaria araucana).
Relevant procedures and records.