Interpretation and revision of the certification standard

The first edition of this certification standard was developed by a broadly based Technical Working Group and launched in May 1999.

A not-for-profit company, “United Kingdom Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS)”, was established in 2003 to own and manage the certification standard. The company is limited by guarantee (company number SC199337) and is managed by its members; its objectives are “to own, interpret, develop and promote a certification standard for forest management in the United Kingdom on behalf of United Kingdom forestry and environmental communities, and bodies which represent the interests of people working in woods and forests or using them for the purpose of recreation, for the general benefit of people”.

UKWAS members appoint a broadly based Steering Group which has responsibility for interpreting the certification standard and ensuring its periodic revision to take account of experience from its application and new information that arises. The Steering Group sets up task-and-finish groups with specific mandates to provide advice on specific topics and appoints a standing Interpretation Panel to provide it and users of the certification standard with advice on its interpretation. Following a full revision, a second edition of the certification standard was published in November 2006 and further amended in November 2008 following additional review to take the fullest account of the needs of those managing small and/or low intensity managed woods. This third edition of the certification standard has again been developed by the Steering Group through a formal revision process – see  the standard-setting process document.

Any further corrections or revisions necessarily made to the certification standard prior to its next full revision will be incorporated into the electronic versions available on the UKWAS website. A list of all the changes made since publication of this edition will be maintained on the UKWAS website and users are recommended to check this on a regular basis.

The Steering Group places a high priority on making certification to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard as accessible as possible for owners and managers of small woods (500 ha or under) and those subject to a low intensity of management. It continues to support research into adapting auditing procedures for small woods, and it will continue to explore ways of reducing the cost and time involved in certifying small woods and those subject to a low intensity of management.