3. Validation - initial project check
Validation is the initial evaluation of a project or group against the requirements of the UK 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 4-12 months from signing a contract with the validator to receiving your carbon units on the UK Land Carbon Registry.
Note validators are very busy during 2022. 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
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 currently between £1,100 and £1,400 per project. The cost for the validation of a group will be higher than that for an individual project, however there will be significant per-project savings across the group (eg per project within the group the cost could be £300-£800 depending on the size of the group). We recommend getting quotes from both validators.
There are four main steps. Your validator will let you know when your project has completed each stage:
1. Preparing and submitting documents
Prepare the following documents referring to the further guidance on the Woodland Carbon Code.
- If you submit your documents for validation on or after 1 October 2022, you must submit Version 2.2 PDD and WCC Cashflow (2.4 Carbon Calculator) to be validated under Version 2.2 of the standard.
- Until that date, if you've already started, you can submit Version 2.1 PDD and WCC Cashflow to be validated under Version 2.1 of the standard.
You will then agree and sign a contract with Soil Association or Organic Farmers and Growers and as a minimum, the following documents are required (See Template Documents). Other supporting evidence may also be necessary (see PDD for further details):
- Project Design Document
- WCC Carbon Calculator
- Landowner, Tenant and Agent Contact Details Sheet
- WCC Cashflow Sheet
- Landowner/Tenant Commitment Statement and/or Group Agreement
- Map of Site
- For natural regeneration only:
- Secondary map of site showing any seed sources, the gross, net and 'upfront claimable' areas and existing mature trees
- Seedling survey showing presence and condition of any existing seedlings
- Woodland Benefits Tool (under Version 2.2 of the WCC)
Note: If Stage 1 is completed by 30 September 2022 (ie your contract with the validator is signed AND you submit your documents), then your validation can continue on Version 2.1 documents.
2. Project audit
The validator will audit your project/group against the requirements of the Woodland Carbon Code. This may involve a site visit if you haven’t already had a forestry-authority site visit during any woodland planning/creation Environmental Impact Assessment or grant application process.
For a group, the validation body will also audit the Group Manager to assess their group documentation, control systems and management processes.
You may be asked for further evidence or to address some ‘corrective actions’. Your validator will give one month for you to complete any corrective actions (except in exceptional circumstances).
3. Project review
Your project documentation will be reviewed by a second validator-reviewer, and checked by the WCC Secretariat for consistency/completeness. 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.
4. Updating the registry and receiving Pending Issuance Units
In order to submit your project as validated (see also How to submit your project as validated on registry (pdf)), the process is as follows:
- You should login to the UK Land Carbon Registry and update the project/group information if necessary.
- If the registry account holder is not the landowner, we need documentation to confirm the account holder has the right to list/manage the projects carbon units. Upload one of either:
- 'Communications Agreement' (to show the landowner is happy for the project developer to represent them in the registry).
- '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.
- You should then submit the project/group as 'Validated' in the registry.
- The validation body will then upload the final documents. Note documents marked * above will be publicly available. You will receive an email from S&P Global confirming your project is now shown as validated in the UK Land Carbon Registry.
- S&P Global will setup & invoice for Pending Issuance Units to represent all the predicted carbon sequestration of your project. Upon payment the units will become active in your account. Note UK Land Carbon Registry Fees are increasing from 1 October 2022. Go to fees.
- When you sell units, you need to either transfer them to buyer's account or assign them to the buyer. Find out more about selling your carbon units.
Where there are significant changes to a project after validation, then the project will be required to be re-validated. This could be due to:
- a significant change to the area or management of the project
- the ownership of a project being split between different owners, or two neighbouring projects being amalgamated by one owner
- a project moving into or out of a group of projects
Changes to the area or management of a project could result in:
- a variation to the carbon prediction (in which case some carbon units issued could be marked ‘Not Delivered’) or
- the re-validation being unsuccessful (in which case the project and any carbon units issued will be marked ‘Not Delivered’)