3. Validation - initial project check

What is validation?

When should I validate and how long does it take?

Who can validate my project?

How much does validation cost?

What's the process?

Significant changes to projects or project developer/owner circumstances

What is validation?

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.

Only the landowner/tenant who plants the woodland can validate it. A landowner who has purchased/tenant who has recently taken on a tenancy of a new woodland cannot prove they wouldn't have planted the woodland without carbon finance.

When should I validate and how long does it take?

You have a maximum of three years from the date you register to complete validation of your project. For groups it's three years from the date you register the first project in the group.

You should contact your selected validation body 18 months before the validation due date to request a quote and start the validation process. Validation can't be signed off until all your trees are planted, but you can start the validation process in parallel with planting.

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

A validation extension can be given in extenuating circumstances, for example, if your planting will span 3-5 planting seasons, or planting is unavoidably delayed. Contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Who can validate my project?

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
ofandg logo no organic RGB 2 SA Certification Logo 2018

Katherine Degg

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anne Mari Cobb

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T: 01939 291 800 T: 01179 142 435


How much does validation cost?

Third-party validators set their fees independently. We recommend getting quotes from both validators.

As of June 2024, the cost of third-party validation is currently between £1,200 and £2,500 plus VAT per project.  

The cost for the validation of a group will be higher, but the cost for each project within the group will be less. For example, the cost per project could be £310 to £1,500 plus VAT depending on the size of the group. 

When your project is validated, Pending Issuance Units are issued. This costs 10 pence per unit. Go to registry fees

If you have employed a project developer, they may also charge you for their time to complete your validation documents and work with the validator on your behalf. Discuss this with your project developer.

What's the process?

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. You must submit Version 2.2 Project Design Document and Version 2.2.1 WCC Cashflow (Version 2.4 Carbon Calculator) to be validated under Version 2.2 of the standard

You will then agree and sign a contract with Soil Association or Organic Farmers & Growers and, as a minimum, the following documents are required (See Template Documents). Other supporting evidence may also be necessary (see Project Design Document for further details):

  • Project Design Document
  • Woodland Carbon Code Carbon Calculator
  • Landowner, Tenant and Agent Contact Details Sheet
  • Woodland Carbon Code 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
    • If claiming any natural regeneration beyond 50m from existing seed sources, a third map of a seedling survey showing the presence and condition of any existing seedlings
    • All maps must be combined into a single PDF document
  • Woodland Benefits Tool

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 Woodland Carbon Code secretariat for consistency/completeness. If validation is successful, the validation body will issue a validation statement. The statement will be valid for five 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 (See Template Documents).
    • '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. A proof of right should contain as a minimum:
      • Clear identification of the land owner and the UK Land Carbon Registry account holder
      • The project name as it appears in the UK Land Carbon Registry and other project documentation
      • A map of the project area (e.g. by including the Woodland Carbon Code map as an annex)
      • The project start date and duration or end date.
      • A clause that transfers the right to the credits generated by the project for the entire crediting period
      • Signature and dates of all parties
  • 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 and invoice for Pending Issuance Units to represent all the predicted carbon sequestration of your project. On payment, the units will become active in your account. 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.

Significant changes to projects or project developer/owner circumstances

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’)

In the first instance, contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.


Next steps:

How do I sell my carbon units?  

Regular verification (year five and beyond)






















We’ve provided clarifications to the current version of the code.

Please read clarification 1 alongside Woodland Carbon Code Version 2.2.


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