UKWAS Final Draft sent to Certification Schemes

The Final Draft of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS) has been finalised and provided to the UK arms of the two leading global certification schemes.

This is the first step in obtaining approval or endorsement for the revised UKWAS standard from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC).

UKWAS Executive Chair, Peter Wilson, said: The UKWAS Steering Group completed its work on revising the certification standard in June and editing work is now complete so the Final Draft of what will be the third edition of the UKWAS has been passed to FSC UK and PEFC UK. We are inviting these national arms of the leading global certification schemes to prepare detailed supporting documents and submit the UKWAS standard for conformance testing through their international parent bodies.

The aim is for the Third edition of the UKWAS to be available for use in November 2011.

In preparing its Final draft, the Steering Group took careful note of the feedback received from the third and final consultation held in May and made further changes to the draft UKWAS standard.

Notes to editors

The UK Woodland Assurance Standard was first launched in 1999 and a revised second edition was released in 2006 and further amended in 2008 following a review which tried to make greater provision for smaller woodland owners.

Under the UKWAS standard-setting process which conforms to FSC and PEFC requirements the standard must be revised every five years by means of a three-year revision process. The Steering Group drew up a process and timetable for the revision to be undertaken between 2009 and 2011. All decisions are based on consensus amongst the economic, environmental and social stakeholders.

The revision and consultation process have been taken forward in three main phases with three opportunities for stakeholders to make input:
“Phase 1 in 2009 was an evidence gathering phase including an initial stakeholder consultation
” Phase 2 in 2010 was the main revision drafting phase leading to a revision draft for consultation
“Phase 3 in 2011 is the conclusion phase including further revision and preparation of a pre-approval draft for a final consultation. After further amendment, FSC UK and PEFC UK are invited to submit the standard to their international parent bodies for approval and it is hoped that necessary approvals will be received in time for a launch of the UKWAS Third edition in November 2011.