The Forestry Commission set up a Carbon Advisory Group in 2008 to provide advice to the Forestry Commission on woodland carbon management issues and to advise on the development of guidelines and standards (The Woodland Carbon Code). The group includes members from the Forestry Commission, NGO's (Woodland Trust), professional bodies from the forest industry (ICF, ConFor, UKWAS), business sectors (IEMA, B&Q) and the carbon sector (Forest Carbon, Edinburgh University Business School). The group meets four times a year.
The Code is reviewed annually to ensure the standards are clear and reflect best practice in terms of the requirements and the guidance available.
Between August 2010 and July 2011 we piloted the Woodland Carbon Code. Several candidate woodland carbon projects of a selection of woodland types spread across the UK were designed and are undergoing validation of the project with the certification bodies. This tested:
- The requirements of the code
- The application process
- The register of woodland carbon projects
- The work of the certification bodies
With feedback from those involved in the pilot phase; the woodland owners/managers, the certification bodies, the UK Accreditation Service and our own staff we made final changes to the Code and the process before it was launched in July 2011 for all.
During 2012/13 we also piloted a scheme where groups of projects could come together to be validated, saving each project money on validation costs. This led to the publication in April 2013 of the Group Validation scheme.
The UK Woodland Carbon Registry has been developed and improved since the launch of the code:
- July 2011 – We launched the Code with a Project Registry managed by Forestry Commission.
- July 2013 – We moved to Markit Registry with additional functionality to track the issuance, transfer and use of carbon units. At this time we listed only validated units which had already been purchased.
- January 2014 – We published the 'rules of use' of the registry and listed all validated units which are available for sale.
Public Consultation - 2009
In Summer 2009 we held a public consultation on the draft Code of Good Practice for Woodland Carbon Projects (now known as The Woodland Carbon Code). Comments were invited on any aspect of the draft document, which would help highlight key issues for its development. The Forestry Commission received twenty-seven responses, four of which were from individuals and twenty-three from organisations and groups.
Following the conclusion of the consultation exercise, a small short-lived working group of experts was assembled to consider changes that should be made, based on the anaylsis of responses. All opinions were fully considered in finalising the Code.
Sector Consultation – 2013
During November/December 2013 we consulted those involved in the forest carbon market in the UK about the ‘rules of use’ of the carbon registry. 9 responses were received from project developers and others involved in the carbon market. The rules were revised having taken on board this input and these were published in January 2014.Last updated: 01/21/2014