Biomass Suppliers List – Getting sustainability accreditation for more unusual woody fuels

Around 95% of Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) biomass projects use woodfuels (as opposed to non-wood fuels). Of these, a large majority comprise wood chip, wood pellets and logs that are sourced from clean virgin timber from woodland management and timber processing activities. In these cases assembling the necessary sustainability evidence for accrediting fuel on the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) is fairly straightforward. There usually will be a paper trail that can be used to demonstrate the sustainability and legality of the woodfuel – be it a Felling License or a Woodland Management Plan or a Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certificate or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC ).

However, there are lots of other sources of clean virgin timber that won’t have such an obvious path to getting a BSL number. For instance:

Sweet chestnut coppice

  • Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) or Short Rotation Forestry (SRF)– this is easy if you were the recipient of an Energy Crops Scheme (ECS) grant. In that instance all you need to do is show your agreement with Natural England. But what evidence do you need to provide if it wasn’t grant aided?
  • Hedgerow trimmings – this doesn’t need a woodland management plan or a felling license so what evidence is satisfactory?
  • Coppice woodlands – you don’t need a felling license if the stems are less than 15 cm so how do you demonstrate sustainability in this case?
  • Arboricultural arisings from tree surgery – again a felling license is unlikely so what information do you need to present?
  • Orchards – again no felling license required
  • Removing less than 5m3 of timber from a woodland in a calendar quarter – again no felling license required

This is not an exhaustive list but you get the point. There are lots of wood fuel sources that won’t be able to fulfil the standard evidence required.

Coppiced hedgerow

C4E are experts on sustainability criteria. We co-founded the Sustainable Fuel Register (SFR) which covers the same ground as BSL for non-wood fuels. As a result of this we are very knowledgeable on the type of evidence required to get more unusual sources of biomass through the sustainability accreditation process. We have so far helped clients get BSL accreditation for arb arisings, hedgerow prunings, SRC, and waste wood.

If you are struggling with a BSL application and want our help we provide affordable rates and can work with you to produce all the necessary information that will not only satisfy the BSL adjudicators but also ensure you have all of the correct information in place if you are audited in the future. Contact us for more information.