Sustainability criteria

To claim Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments, participants must demonstrate that their fuel meets the RHI sustainability criteria of greenhouse gas emissions and land criteria.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Suppliers must demonstrate that the greenhouse gas emissions generated from the cultivation, processing and transport of their biomass fuel are at least 60% lower than the EU fossil fuel average for heat, when used in a boiler which achieves an average of 70% seasonal efficiency. The emissions limit is ≤34.8g CO2e per MJ. This figure is calculated using the life cycle assessment methodology set out in the European Commission’s 2010 report

To calculate their greenhouse gas emissions, suppliers must use either the simple calculator within the BSL application process or the more comprehensive B2C2 calculator, which can be accessed via this link. Information provided during the application process will determine which calculator must be used.

Land criteria

Producers, Traders and Producer-Traders of virgin or virgin/waste blend woodfuel are also required to demonstrate compliance with the land criteria requirements. This confirms that the wood has been legally felled and that the woodland has been sustainably managed. Self-Suppliers and waste fuels (as per the BSL definition of waste) are exempt from Land Criteria.

Full details on the Land Criteria requirements can be found in our guidance document under the Documents and Guidance tab.

There are two categories of land criteria compliance:

Category A evidence

If you are able to demonstrate that 100% of your fuel is FSC, PEFC or SBP certified, then you fall under Category A.

  • FSC certificates must be held in your name or you must be a listed group member / site on the FSC database.
  • PEFC certificates must be held in your name or you must be listed as a participant in Group Certification FM on the PEFC database.
  • SBP certificates must be held in your name or you must be a listed group member / site on the SBP database.

If your FSC, PEFC or SBP certificates do not cover 100% of your fuel, are for Controlled Wood and/or are not in your name, you fall under Category B.

Category B evidence

There are three ways of demonstrating compliance under Category B:

1. Felling licence and woodland management plan – this is for suppliers who have 100% of their fuel covered by both a felling licence and a UK Forestry Standard compliant woodland management plan. 100% of the raw materials being used must have been sourced from the UK.

2. Risk Based Regional Assessment (RBRA) – this is for suppliers sourcing 100% of their fuel from within the UK but who do not have a felling licence and woodland management plan for 100% of their fuel. An RBRA is a declaration of materials purchased within the UK for the previous calendar year. A UK RBRA template can be downloaded from the Documents and Guidance tab.

3. Bespoke Risk Based Regional Assessment (RBRA) – this is for suppliers who are sourcing some or all of their fuel from outside of the UK and cannot provide Category A evidence. Further information on this option can be found in our guidance document under the Documents and Guidance tab.