What is the UK Forestry Standard (UKFS)?

The UKFS is endorsed by all national and devolved governments within the UK. It defines standards and requirements, is a basis for regulation and monitoring, and sets guidelines for sustainable forest management. It also recognises that forests have environmental, economic and social objectives. 

Read the UK Forestry Standard.

How often is the UKFS reviewed?

A UKFS review take place every 5 years.

An updated edition of the UKFS is due to be published by the end of 2022. The current edition (published in 2017) should be followed until the new edition is published.

Who is involved in the review?

The review is co-ordinated by Scottish Forestry and overseen by a Project Board made up of representatives from Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Stakeholder engagement and consultation is an important element of the review. Organisations with a knowledge of the different aspects of sustainable forest management have been invited to join a UK Stakeholder Reference Group, which will support the development of the updated edition by ensuring it’s relevant and appropriate across the UK.

Engaging stakeholders will also be delivered through a two-stage stakeholder consultation process.

Review of technical content

To inform the review, an assessment of the technical content of the current edition was been undertaken by specialists from the UK forestry authorities and administrations, Forest Research and external reviewers.

The assessment found that once updated to reflect improvements in scientific knowledge, developments in international approaches, and new or amended legislation, the majority of the current edition’s content would remain relevant.

The assessment also identified a range of significant cross-cutting themes that are relevant across the Standard and across the UK, and that could be further developed. These themes would be additional to other themes already well established in the UKFS such as the importance of biodiversity.

Stakeholder consultation

The potential for changing the technical content of the next version to reflect these cross-cutting themes formed the basis of the recent stakeholder consultation. In addition questions were asked about potential usability improvements.

This technical consultation, targeted at organisations that are familiar with the content and purpose of the UKFS, ran on the Scottish Government’s Citizen Space platform from 29 June 2021 to 10 August 2021. An independent consultant was commissioned to analyse the consultation responses and to produce a report. 

View the responses and the report on the Scottish Government website

The consultation showed vast majority support to strengthen all additional cross-cutting themes, and this will be taken forward in the next edition.

The consultation also asked questions about the usability of the UKFS. Steps are underway to assess the practicality of the suggestions that arose from these questions, to inform how the next edition is structured and presented.

Next steps

The Project Board has confirmed that the project is ready to move to ohase 2 - the re-drafting stage. The consultation responses and findings from the preliminary assessment will help inform the drafting of the next edition of a standard that is balanced and relevant and applicable across the UK. Expert writers have been commissioned and their work will reflect closely the evidence gathered in phase 1 of the project.  

The project team will continue to work with the forestry sector, stakeholders and wider audiences to make sure the review is well-informed. 

Updated detailed technical content will be shared with stakeholders during the second consultation stage planned for spring 2022.

Contact

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