4. Environmental quality
- There shall be woodland design planning documentation which considers the environmental aspects of sustainable forest management set out in the UK Forestry Standard and these standards shall be maintained throughout the duration of the project.
- Projects shall demonstrate whether or not an Environmental Statement/ EIA Report is required under the Environmental Impact Assessment Forestry Regulations. They shall:
- Provide the Environmental Statement/EIA Report if one was required, or
- Other evidence that environmental impacts of the project are likely to be positive where not required.
Safeguarding / no harm and likely environmental benefits are checked at validation. If the project monitors environmental benefits, these can be checked at each verification.
In order to show that the creation of a WCC project 'does no harm', all projects should ensure safeguards are in place so they can show that any environmental impacts on the land area concerned are likely to be positive. An Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Statement/EIA Report (where required) will usually cover all issues associated with environmental integrity.
- Environmental Impact Assessment England
- Environmental Impact Assessment Scotland
- Environmental Impact Assessment Wales
- Environmental Impact Assessment Northern Ireland
If no Environmental Impact Assessment is required due to scale or nature of project and site, projects should demonstrate in their PDD:
- Any likely environmental impacts
- Any rare or endangered species in the project area and how these are taken into account in the project design
- Any statutory designations in the project area and how these are taken into account in the project design
- The design has given due regard to the visual, cultural value and character of the local environment
Where a woodland creation grant has been applied for, the information supplied for a grant application will help.
A useful map-based tools in each country can show designated areas or features on or near the project site:
- Land information search England, and MAGiC mapping tool, England
- Land information search Scotland
- NRW Mapping, Wales
- Northern Ireland
UK Forestry Standard: In order to show that the projects is managed with the best possible outcomes for the environment, the project design shall incorporate the environmental aspects of sustainable forest management as set out in the UK Forestry Standard and supporting Guidelines for Climate Change, Soil, Water, Biodiversity, Landscape and Historic Environment. These standards shall be maintained throughout the duration of the project.
BS8632:2021: BSI's standard for Natural Capital Accounting for Organisations: This is a tool to measure changes in the stock of natural capital. Landowners may be interested in considering this approach, though it does not forma part of the WCC.
Project Developers use the Woodland Benefits Tool to present the likely environmental outcomes of their projects. Projects are scored out of 5 in each area at validation. The WCC does not yet have a methodology to monitor the benefits over time.