UK Forestry Standard: draft updated content

Closes 8 Dec 2022

Opened 13 Oct 2022

Overview

Overview of the UK Forestry Standard

The UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) is the technical standard for sustainable forestry practice in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It has been developed specifically for forestry across the UK and its content underpins the development and delivery of policy in all four countries.

It was first published in 1998, with the fourth, and latest edition, published in 2017. It provides a framework for the delivery of sustainable forest management (a wide-ranging concept that incorporates the environmental, economic and social aspects of forestry) in the UK, and is based on internationally-agreed criteria.

The UKFS applies to the entire forest environment and to all UK forest types and management systems, including woodland in urban areas. However, it does not apply to the management of individual trees, orchards, ornamental and garden trees, tree nurseries, or the management of Christmas trees.

A review of the UKFS takes place every five years and as such, the four administrations of the UK are presently reviewing the current edition of the UKFS, with the aim of updating it and publishing a new version in spring 2023. Reviewing the current edition will ensure the Standard’s technical and legal content is up to date and that it continues to safeguard and promote sustainable forestry practice in the UK.

Reviewing the UK Forestry Standard

The UKFS review is being co-ordinated by Scottish Forestry and overseen by a Project Board made up of government representatives from the four administrations. The final content of the new edition of the UKFS will be approved by all four administrations. Read more about the review.

Stakeholder engagement is a key part of the review process. A reference group made up of UK-level stakeholders with knowledge of different aspects of sustainable forest management has been established to support the countries in the review process. In addition, a two-stage stakeholder consultation process is being carried out.

The first stage of consultation closed in August 2021. It was based on an assessment of the Standard’s technical and legal content carried out by specialists. The assessment identified six cross-cutting themes that are relevant across the Standard, and these were explored as part of the consultation:

  • forest resilience and climate adaptation
  • managing carbon
  • a systematic approach to biosecurity
  • stakeholder and public involvement
  • complementary action between woodlands and wider land use objectives
  • minimising and managing manufactured waste

Key points from the analysis of the consultation responses were that:

  • the Standard is held in high regard - it does not need a fundamental re-working but does need some updating
  • there was a call for the removal of duplication and for clarity about what is mandatory and what is good practice
  • there is a clear need to identify the main professional target audience and present the UKFS accordingly

Read the 'UK Forestry Standard: proposed key changes' first stage consultation report.

The findings from the first consultation helped inform the drafting of the next edition of the UKFS. It has been co-produced by the four countries and the technical content including requirement and guidelines have been updated to reflect:

  • improvements in scientific knowledge
  • a need for clarity on what is required to reduce time spent on resolving different users’ interpretations
  • developments in international approaches
  • new or amended legislation (and any legislative differences across the four countries)

The draft content builds on previous editions and it is planned that the structure of the final publication will be comparable to the current Standard. Key areas of change include:

  • the editing of contextual information and the supporting introductory chapters focusing on key information
  • the removal of duplication between the different elements of sustainable forest management
  • consolidation of references to legislation
  • improved consistency and linkage between the different sections

We believe these changes, once finalised, will improve the usability and clarity of the next edition. New legal requirements, good practice requirements or guidelines are indicated in the draft.

Read the consultation paper - UKFS draft content

Why your views matter

Why We Are Consulting

This consultation will help inform the considerations of the four country administrations in finalising the next edition of the UKFS and ensuring that it is balanced, relevant and applicable across the UK.

Who is this consultation aimed at?

As this is a technical consultation, as with the initial consultation in 2021, it is targeted at organisations who are familiar with the content and purpose of the UKFS, rather than the general public.

Out of scope

Importantly, this is not a consultation on the forestry policy aims or specific forestry targets of the four nations of the UK. If you have questions or comments on country forestry policies, targets or delivery please contact:

England - nationalenquiries@forestrycommission.gov.uk

Northern Ireland - customer.forestservice@daera-ni.gov.uk

Scotland - Scottish.Forestry@forestry.gov.scot

Wales - customerhelp@gov.wales

Give us your views

Interests

  • Environment and Climate Change