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Sustainability criteria for the Renewable Heat Incentive

End user information:

In order to ensure the sustainability of biomass fuel, the UK Government introduced biomass sustainability RHI regulations in Spring 2015, with the obligation on RHI participants to meet the sustainability requirements from Autumn 2015. The regulations will dictate that in order to be eligible for the RHI, biomass installations will be required to demonstrate, either through reporting or sourcing from an approved supplier, that their biomass meets:

1) A greenhouse gas lifecycle emissions limit target: Biomass fuel used by RHI participants must meet a lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target of 34.8g CO2 equivalent per MJ of heat, or 60% GHG savings against the EU fossil fuel average.

2) Land criteria: As outlined in the UK Timber Standard for Heat and Electricity, click here for further information.

For the Non-Domestic RHI there are 2 routes to complying with the sustainability criteria:

A) Sourcing woodfuel from the Biomass Suppliers List

To access the Biomass Suppliers List, click here.

Please note that whilst BSL membership indicates that your fuel supplier complies with the sustainability criteria for the RHI it is not a mark of fuel quality. For information on woodfuel quality accreditation schemes, click here.

B) Self reporting to Ofgem

For the Domestic RHI, all woodfuel used from the date the sustainability criteria come into effect must be sourced from a supplier registered on the Biomass Suppliers List at that time.

To access the BSL Consumer Question and Answers Document, click here.


Supplier information:

A supplier must provide a Greenhouse Gas Calculation and prove that their fuel is legal and sustainable to be approved for the Biomass Suppliers List.

To complete your Green House Gas Calculation there is a tool provided by Ofgem - to access click  here.

Suppliers listed on the Biomass Suppliers List, including self suppliers, will need to test and record the moisture content of their fuel and provide information on their method for testing fuel. The Biomass Energy Centre has published guidance on testing moisture content -  click here to access the document.

To prove that your timber is legal and sustainable, the requirements for woodfuel will be based on the UK Government Timber Procurement Policy (UKTPP), established by The Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET). Currently there are two types of evidence that can be given:

1) Independent Certification

Approved forest certification schemes include FSC and PEFC (including SFI).

2) All other credible documentary evidence

The Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) has published specific guidance documents on how to comply with the land criteria for fuels on the BSL -  click here to access the four relevant documents.


To access the BSL and to view the Applications and Audit Guidance document, click here. To register for the BSL click here.

Please note that self suppliers are exempt from the provision of evidence against the Land Criteria, as are suppliers who source their raw material from 100% waste. However, if audited, self suppliers will need to provide information to evidence their ability to self supply and this could take the form of a Forestry Commission Scotland approved Woodland Management Plan.

Further information:

For answers to questions asked at recent RHI sustainability criteria workshops, click here and here.

To access the guidance documents for the provision of evidence for the RHI Sustainability Criteria, click here.

For advice on the procurement of timber and timber products, forest certification schemes and other forms of evidence of sustainability (Category B evidence), see the   Central Point of Expertise on Timber Procurement (CPET) documents, especially the CPET guidance for the growers of timber in the UK - click here to access.

For further guidance on the Biomass Suppliers List, click here.

For guidance on Applications and Audit for the BSL, click here.

For suppliers FAQs click here.

For consumer FAQs click here.

Woodsure is the organisation that administers the Biomass Suppliers List; click here to access their details.

For an information leaflet about the overall sustainability requirements, click here.

For information on how the sustainability criteria impact on domestic RHI participants,  click here.

A Biomass Suppliers List workshop was held in June 2014; to see the presentations click here.

For further information on biomass sustainability requirements, click here.

Key RHI Update, April 2015

The Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) has launched specific guidance on how to comply with the land criteria for fuels on the BSL.