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 2022/23. 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 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.

First stakeholder consultation

The potential for updating the next version to reflect these cross-cutting themes formed the basis of the first 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

The consultation responses and the findings from the earlier assessment of technical content are helping to inform the drafting of the next edition of the UKFS.

Preparing for the second consultation 

The consultation responses and findings from the preliminary assessment will help inform the drafting of the next edition of a standard that's balanced and relevant and applicable across the UK. 

To support the re-drafting process and inform the focus of the second stakeholder consultation, the June meeting of the Stakeholder Reference Group discussed potential key updates and the proposed structure of the next edition.  

To allow time for that discussion and finalise the re-drafting process the second consultation will open in September 2022. This second consultation will seek stakeholder views on updated technical content. As with the first consultation, because it's a technical consultation it'll be targeted at organisations that are familiar with the content and purpose of the UKFS and not the general public. 

The final content of the new edition of the UKFS will be approved by the four governments and, like previous editions, will be the UK governments' approach to sustainable forestry.


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