3. Validation - initial project check
Validation is the initial evaluation of a project or group against the requirements of the Woodland Carbon Code by a body accredited by the UK Accreditation Service. The validation body will check that statements about predicted carbon sequestration are materially correct, with a reasonable level of assurance.
You have 3 years from the date you register to complete validation of your project. For groups it's 3 years from the date you register the first project in the group. Validation can't be signed off until all your trees are planted, but you can start the validation process in parallel with planting.
You should start preparing your documents at least 12 months before your validation due-date and allow take 4-6 months from signing a contract with the validator to receiving your carbon units on the UK Land Carbon Registry.
Top tips for a smooth validation:
- Give the validator as much notice as possible
- Make sure your documents are well completed and accurate
- Make sure you submit all the necessary supporting evidence
- Respond as quickly as possible to requests for further information, clarification or corrective actions
Your validator will let you know that your project:
- Has submitted all the necessary documents
- Is being sent for audit
- Is being sent for review
- Has passed validation and is being uploaded to the UK Land Carbon Registry
You should refer to further guidance on the Woodland Carbon Code when completing your Project Design Document. If a project is also receiving woodland grants, then existing documentation can be used to support the Project Design Document.
If you submit your documents for validation after 1 July 2021, you should submit everything on Version 2.1 (2.4 Carbon Calculator). As a minimum, the following documents are required (See Template Documents). Other supporting evidence may also be necessary (see PDD for further details):
- 1. Eligibility
- Landowner, Tenant and Agent Contact Details Sheet
- WCC Cashflow Sheet
- 2. Project Governance
- Proof of consultation
- Management plan (can be the plan submitted as part of a grant application)
- Map of site. If your project is established by natural colonisation/regeneration, an extra map showing any seed sources, the gross, net and 'upfront claimable' areas and existing mature trees.
- If your project is established by natural colonisation/regeneration, seedling survey showing presence and condition of any existing seedlings
- 3. Carbon Sequestration
- Carbon Calculator
- 4. Environmental Quality
- Environmental impact Assessment (or proof that an EIA was not required)
- 5. Social Responsibility
Note: If you submitted your documents (at least map, carbon calculation, Project Design Document, WCC Cashflow Sheet and Landowner, Tenant & Agent Contact details) to the validator AND your contract with the validator was signed prior to 30 June 2021, then your validation can continue on Version 2.0 documents.
Both Organic Farmers and Growers and Soil Association are accredited by the UK Accreditation Service to validate Woodland Carbon Code projects.
|Organic Farmers and Growers||Soil Association|
Anne Mari Cobb
|T: 01939 291800||T: 0117 914 2435|
The cost of validation, is between £750 and £1,150 per project. If projects are in a group there is a significant per-project saving across the group. We recommend getting quotes from both validators.
There are a number of steps involved:
- Contact one of the accredited validation bodies to arrange for a project/group validation. Give your validator as much notice as possible.
- Register your project, complete your Project Design Document, WCC Cashflow Sheet as well as Landowner, Tenant and Agent Contact sheet and gather supporting evidence.
- Make sure they match the Map and WCC Carbon Calculation - You already submitted these at registration.
- If your project is established by natural regeneration you need an extra map showing the seed sources, gross, net and upfront claimable areas as well as any existing mature trees within the net area. You also need to provide the results of a seedling survey that confirms the presence and condition of any existing seedlings in the 'upfront claimable' area. See WCC Carbon Calculation Guidance.
- Submit all relevant documentation to the validation body.
- Host field audit(s) if required. In general, where an approved Forestry Commission, Scottish Forestry, Welsh Government or NI Forest Service woodland creation grant is in place which involved field assessments, a field visit will not be required for validation. Where there is no grant aid but there is sufficient evidence from Forestry Commission, Scottish Forestry, Welsh Government or NI Forest Service or other independent site visit/audit, then a field visit by the validation body will not be required. If there is insufficient evidence from these sources, the validation body will conduct a site visit. For groups, the number and selection of projects to be sampled will be determined using a risk-based approach.
- For a group, the validation body will also audit the Group Manager to assess their group documentation, control systems and management processes.
- Address any corrective actions required by the validation body within one month (except in exceptional circumstances).
- If validation is successful, the validation body will issue a Validation Statement. The statement will be valid for 5 years from the project start date.
- Login to Markit, update the registry fields if necessary.
- Upload either a 'communications agreement' (to show the landowner is happy for the project developer to represent them in the registry) or a 'proof of right' (to show the project developer owns the rights to the carbon) to confirm that they have the right to list the project's carbon units in their account. (If the account holder is the landowner then neither document is required).
- Submit the project/group as 'Validated' in the Registry. See also How to submit your project as validated on registry (pdf)
- The validation body will then upload the final documents. Your PDD, Carbon Calculations, Map and your Validation Statement will be available on the public view of the UK Land Carbon Registry.
- You will receive an email from IHS Markit confirming the updated status of your project in the UK Land Carbon Registry.
- IHS Markit will setup Pending Issuance Units to represent all the predicted carbon sequestration of your project. You will be invoiced 6 pence per unit and upon payment the units will become active in your account. See Registry Details.
- When you sell units, you need to either transfer them to buyer's account or assign them to the buyer.
Next Step: Regular Verification (year 5 and beyond)