The cost of achieving Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for woodland of 100ha or less is set to fall.

Following a UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS) sponsored pilot in the UK last summer, the FSC has approved streamlined procedures for certifying woods.

Now FSC-accredited certification bodies operating in the UK can introduce tailored methods for auditing woodland of 100ha or less.

UKWAS steering group chairman Tim Rollinson said the news was just one of a number of measures UKWAS partners were taking to tackle concerns about cost and bureaucracy in certification. He added: “It reflects the steering group’s determination to make certification more accessible to all – an important objective as demand for certified wood will continue to increase.

“Government procurement policies to buy wood from sources independently verified as sustainably managed are providing a significant boost to demand for certified wood.”

And Peter Wilson, executive director of the Forest Industries Development Council and chairman of the UKWAS company, said the announcement was well timed as the UK forest industries’ Sustainability Strategy, to be launched on February 12, would highlight the sector’s commitment to further improve its green credentials.

He added: “These are underpinned by the provision of credibly certified timber. We all want to grow the market for wood and a key part of that is independent evidence that wood comes from a sustainably managed source. I hope these new procedures will encourage even more woodland owners to consider certifying their woodland.”