New chair for UKWAS Interpretation Panel

Graham Gill OBE, FICFor has been appointed chair of the UKWAS Interpretation Panel.

Graham who graduated from Edinburgh University in 1975 spent his entire career with the Forestry Commission during which he worked in a wide variety of roles including as a researcher focusing on forest genetics, a forest manager in the Scottish Highlands and the north of England, and as the head of environment branch with responsibility for developing sustainability policies, practices and standards at Great Britain level.

Graham retired from his final position with the Forestry Commission as forest management director for North England Forest District in 2014 but remains actively engaged in forestry projects including grey squirrel control and red squirrel conservation. He is vice chair of Northumberland Wildlife Trust and is currently planting his own mixed woodland on seven hectares of grazing land within the Northumberland National Park. He also serves on the Institute of Chartered Foresters’ Professional Complaints Panel.

The UKWAS Interpretation Panel provides the UKWAS steering group and users of the standard with advice on interpretation of the standard.

UKWAS steering group chair, Peter Wilson, said: “We are now awaiting completion of the FSC approval and PEFC endorsement processes for the fourth edition of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard. The revised standard incorporates significant changes and as we transition to UKWAS 4, this may well give rise to interpretation requests from users so it is good to have Graham on board. He has an ideal background in forestry management and environmental standards to take on his new role.”

Graham Gill said: “I am honoured to take on this position and believe that my experience of both sides of the regulatory process will be useful for the role.  I look forward to working with the steering group to ensure a smooth and effective transition to UKWAS 4”.

Graham succeeds Roger Cooper, the former head of agricultural & forest sciences at Bangor University, who is standing down as chair having held the position since prior to the launch of the second edition of the UKWAS in 2006. On behalf of the steering group, Peter Wilson thanked Roger for his long service and for his diligent and patient approach in resolving some very challenging interpretation requests.