Annual Audit of UKFCG by Soil Association – Feedback

Many thanks to all the managers whose forests were selected for the audit this year, we are pleased to report there were no Non-conformities on any of the forests which were audited.  Another slightly unusual year; the audit was described as a ‘Hybrid Audit’, six forests were audited remotely and six were visited by the auditor.  All part of the gradual easing out of Covid-19 lockdowns.  Hopefully next year, our tenth anniversary and Re-evaluation audit, will be back to ‘Normal’

At the audit closing meeting the auditor commented on the wide range of forests in the UKFCG Group, and the many good examples of management practices and documentation that had been seen.

Thanks again, also to everyone who sent back their end of March annual statistics in time for the audit of Group Procedures and Record Keeping which also went well.


FISA 802 Emergency Planning

[UKWAS 5.4.1 requires conformance with FISA Guidance]

FISA Guide 802 includes the following:

4 Employers and the self-employed need to assess the first-aid requirements of their work. Make sure there are enough suitably trained first-aid personnel (first aiders) and facilities so that immediate assistance is available to casualties of illness or injury, and that an ambulance or other professional help can be summoned without delay. The assessment should also identify which items need to be in the worksite first-aid kit.

5 The first-aid assessment should take account of: • the nature of the work; • the past history and consequences of accidents; • the nature and distribution of the workforce; • the remoteness of the site from the emergency services, including location, terrain and weather conditions; • working on shared or multi-occupied sites; • holidays and other absences of first aiders; • the presence of trainees and the public; • the possibility of medical conditions or allergies. (The use of MedicAlert ® may be considered, visit for details.)

One of the verifiers for UKWAS 5.4.1 states: System to ensure that anyone working in the woodland has had relevant instruction in safe working practice and that the appropriate number has had training in basic first aid and, where relevant, holds a certificate of competence.

In recent months we have found, during annual surveillance audits, a number of instances when first aid provision has been inadequate, first aid provision not assessed or included in risk assessments, no evidence of first aid training, first aid refresher training out of date, first aid kit not available in forest machines.

To help you reduce the risk of Non-conformity, see below a summary checklist for every operational activity – this includes deer control by appointed stalkers, and gamekeepers or other estate workers undertaking activities in the certified forest area.

  • First Aid provision included in contractor’s Risk Assessment.
  • Number of trained First Aiders on site is a reflection of the Risk Assessment.
  • Copies of First Aid training certificates obtained prior to start of operational activity.
  • First Aid Kits available in all machines and personal kits carried when required.
  • Check contents of First Aid Kits including expiry dates of contents.
  • Accident reporting procedure in place.
  • Emergency Plan documented, fit for purpose and provided to every worker.
  • First Aid provisions apply to hauliers.  [UKFCG has noted a recent NC raised on another FSC certificate holder for a haulier with no first aid kit and no spill kit onboard].
  1. Start and end of harvesting contract frequently has only one operator on site [harvester at start and forwarder at end]. In all such cases the lone worker should be able to provide evidence of up to date First Aid training/qualification.

Additional Resource Material:

FISA INFORMATION LEAFLET 002-1214 Introduction to “Risk Assessment”


FOREST HAULAGE SAFETY MANUAL Published by the FISA Forest Haulage Working Group


Releasing pheasants and partridges

UKWAS 4.9.1

Following on from our feature on this subject in the March newsletter: – In February the Government launched a consultation[Control + Click to follow link] regarding its plans to introduce interim licensing measures for the release of pheasants and red legged partridges on or near European protected sites in England.

Following the consultation, the Government has now introduced its interim licensing regime[Control + Click to follow link] for the release of common pheasant and red-legged partridge within European protected sites and a 500m buffer zone around these sites in England.  These are planned to come into effect from 31 May.

It is not all protected sites, just those which were designated of European importance (this criterion remains post Brexit). They are called Special Protection Areas (SPAs), which are for birds, and Special Areas for Conservation (SACs), which cover habitats and other animals. They cover around 5% of England.


WELCOME to new members:

Penny Bridge Hall Estate        Innis Tioram                Lubcroy Forest            Bowland Estate Shillofad Forest                                    Femnock Hill                          Laudale Forest