Can I use Ready to Burn certification to demonstrate fuel quality? 

Ready to Burn certification provides assurance that wood fuel sold in volumes of under 2m³ has a moisture content of 20% or less. However, Ready to Burn certification is not a demonstration of fuel quality. 

What is the Biomass Suppliers List? 

The BSL is a list of wood fuel that has proven it meets the eligibility requirements for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. The BSL allows RHI participants to easily demonstrate to Ofgem the fuel used in their biomass boilers meets the sustainability criteria required to claim RHI payments. The BSL has been administered by Woodsure since 1 July 2021, with the team that administer BSL operating independently of the team that handles Woodsure and Ready to Burn certifications. 

When and how is fuel quality added to the BSL? 

The BSL allows you to make an application for a fuel, where the relevant requirements are considered, such as: 

  • Calculation of emissions 
  • Land criteria documentation review 
  • Fuel quality certification (such as Woodsure fuel quality) 

If your fuel meets the relevant requirements, you are provided with a BSL number which is used to help self-reporting with the RHI or can be given to your customers so they can claim their RHI. 

Ready to Burn does not qualify for fuel quality 

Ready to Burn is a scheme administered by Woodsure on behalf of Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). Ready to Burn certification is required for any business that sells wood fuel for domestic use (in England) in volumes of under 2m³, since legislation came into force 1 May 2021. 

Ready to Burn certification does not provide a fuel quality grading like the Woodsure scheme; the certification is considered lighter touch, only having minimal requirements to meet the requirements of legislation. Due to this, having Ready to Burn certification for your fuel does not meet the fuel quality requirements for the RHI and can’t be used to support a BSL application. 

Do I need to be on the BSL? 

Although there are situations where the BSL is required, such as if you wish to sell fuel, the BSL is an optional service. Using the BSL makes certification of a fuel to claim the RHI easier and more accessible.  

If you are unsure if you need BSL certification to claim RHI, please contact the BSL Helpdesk at 01684 215253 or email the team at

Membership renewal process 

Membership fees are charged starting at the beginning of the year at a fee based on your declared company size. 

  • For Self-Suppliers, this is an annual fee charged upfront on January 1. 
  • For Producer-Traders, this fee is broken up into four quarters throughout the year starting with Quarter 1 on January 1. Producer-Traders must also submit their quarterly reports for the previous quarter at this time. 

This is a flat fee based on company size, regardless of how many active fuels you have listed on your account. 

Membership fee by company size  

Individuals – £25 + VAT  

Small and micro companies – £120 + VAT  

Medium and large companies – £295 + VAT  

Quarterly reporting data  

Quarterly reporting data will be accepted from the first day of the month following the end of the reporting quarter and must be submitted within 30 days.  

Quarter  Reporting quarter  Submission period  
1  1 January – 31 March  1 April – 1 May 
2  1 April – 30 June  1 July – 31 July 
3  1 July – 30 September  1 October – 31 October 
4  1 October – 31 December  1 January – 31 January  

For example, you will report on wood fuel sold between 1 October – 31 December in Q1. You have until 30 January to submit this report.  

Payment timings 

You will need to pay the application fee after you enter all the information needed for your situation. For Self-Suppliers, these are only the terms and conditions to ensure continued compliance with the rules of the BSL and confirming that information is up to date. For Producer-Traders, this is your quarterly report as well as terms and conditions. This will then allow you to make payment – either by PayPal or BACS.  
Payment is due on or before the end of the reporting quarter +30 days, not +30 days from the date you have submitted your quarterly report. Submitting your quarterly report late does not allow you to delay your payment date.  For example, when paying your Q2 fee, your payment is due by 30 July. If you submit your quarterly report late, on 5 July, your payment is still due by 30 July. 

Failure to comply with payment terms will lead to a fifteen-day suspension of the fuel as ‘notice of removal’. If a payment is not forthcoming within those fifteen calendar days, the fuel may be removed with no further communication. 

Can I submit late?  

Late submissions of quarterly figures may be accepted in exceptional cases where prior permission is applied for from the BSL Administrator. Any person wishing to apply for such an exemption should contact the helpdesk as far in advance of the due date as possible, and never later than the due date +45 days. 
The BSL helpdesk will take details of the length being requested, the reason, and any supporting evidence. The helpdesk will confirm to the applicant in writing the outcome of their request, usually in a maximum of five working days. Dispensations will be strictly on a case-by-case basis. Since the veracity of evidence will likely be difficult to validate, all such requests will have an impact on the Supplier’s risk profile. 

It is crucial to keep your contact details up to date, including your email address and phone number. You can also manually add another user to your account for additional contact details. If you wish to change the master user’s details, please email us via the master user’s email account, providing the new contact information.  

If you have any further questions, please contact the BSL Helpdesk on 01684 215253 or email the team at  

RHI reporting and fuel quality

The BSL Administrator is aware that some people have had issues since the re-introduction of the fuel quality criteria on 23rd November 2023. If you have been affected, please see below:

  • Have you purchased the fuel since the 22nd of November? If yes,
    • check the BSL number on the invoice
    • go back to your supplier and query whether the BSL number is correct.
  • If you haven’t purchased the fuel since 22nd of November:
    • check with your supplier that the BSL number is correct; and 
    • advise Ofgem that you purchased the fuel before the suspension was lifted.
  • If you are still experiencing issues after this:
    • forward on your communication with the supplier and OFGEM RHI team and to the BSL helpdesk with a brief explanation of your situation.”

The BSL Helpdesk can be contacted in the following ways or by completing the contact enquiry form here:
Tel: (+44) 01684 215253 

The Helpdesk is open Monday to Thursday, 9:30am to 5pm and to 4:30pm on Friday. 

Christmas wishes from the BSL team

The Biomass Suppliers List administration team will be on hand between Christmas and new year, with the Helpdesk being available between 9am and 11am from the 27th to 29th December. The Helpdesk will close at midday on Friday 22nd December.

Our usual opening hours of 8:30am to 5pm will commence from the 2nd January 2024. 

Please contact the team on 01684 215253 or send us a message via the website.

From the BSL team, we wish you a very merry Christmas and happy new year.

Advisory Panel Voting

Following a recent successful call for nominations for the Biomass Suppliers List Advisory Panel, we are now in a position to open voting for categories where a number of nominations were received. Where there are multiple nominees for the same category, the panel member will be elected by the BSL registrants. The panel members are representing their BSL scheme participants or stakeholders and will be expected to raise matters to the Advisory Panel and report back directly to their relevant members on any outcomes or decisions via the BSL Administrator.

Advisory Panel purpose

The Panel serves a number of purposes, including:

  • Provides strategic advice to the Department for Energy, Security & Net Zero (DESNZ) on the supply of biomass wood fuel through meetings of this Panel;
  • Ensures that all participants within the biomass sector have open and fair access to the BSL;
  • Ensures that fees applied to Suppliers on the BSL are appropriate and kept within reasonable and affordable limits;
  • Ensures that scheme administration and any improvements raised reflect user needs;
  • Escalates BSL Advisory Panel concerns to DESNZ; and
  • Develops terms of reference of the annual audit of the BSL Administrator

The Panel shall consist of up to 18 Members from the following categories:

  • Members representing BSL suppliers (self-suppliers, producers, producer-traders, traders) 
  • Members representing fuel types (pellets, chip, logs, waste wood)
  • Members representing raw materials (forestry, waste wood, arboricultural arisings, sawmill residues)
  • Members representing industry bodies (forestry, waste wood fuel, wood heating)
  • Advisory Panel Non Voting Members (fuel quality certification scheme, government forestry (England), government forestry (Scotland), government forestry (Wales)

Some members may represent multiple categories, depending on their experience and expertise.
Closing date for voting is 2pm on the 6th December 2023.

You will be required to enter your details so the BSL Administrators can confirm validity for voting. You can only vote in categories relating to your own membership with BSL.

The full ‘Terms of Reference’ for the BSL Advisory Panel, are available to view on the BSL website.

How to vote

All members of the Biomass Suppliers List will have received an email with voting details. Please check your inbox for details. Contact the team here if you haven’t received the email.

Woodsure Auditor

Woodsure is currently recruiting for a new auditor to cover North Wales, predominately in LL, CH, and CW areas.

The role is for an auditor to be appointed on a sub-contract basis through a Bought in Service Agreement – you must operate your own company but not be conflicted through holding Woodsure or Ready to Burn certification.

Work experience requirements;

  • Minimum of three years full time experience in forest based or biomass related industries. (The number of years of total work experience may be reduced if the auditor has completed a relevant qualification in an appropriate forest based or related industry)
  • Preferable experience and/or qualification in auditing/quality management systems

Key role Activities;

  • Assess a fuel supplier’s operation and competence in producing fuel to the claimed quality
  • Audit appropriate documentation and process requirements
  • Make a judgement for suitability for inclusion on the register and make recommendations
  • Liaise with Woodsure, applicants and existing registrants to agree on appointments and carry out inspection/assessment
  • Review Woodsure/Ready to Burn database, supplier search and any documentation provided
  • Liaise and respond directly with the fuel supplier (applicant or registrant) to clarify assessment dates
  • Make a recommendation for acceptance/rejection as an output to the audit to Woodsure

If you want to apply for the Woodsure Auditor position, please send a cover letter and your CV to

Nominations are now open for the Biomass Suppliers List Advisory Panel

As BSL Administrators we would like to open nominations for a new Advisory Panel. To nominate yourself please follow the link below. The nomination process will close on 12th November. Where we receive multiple nominees for the same category, the BSL registrants will be asked to vote for their preferred candidate.

Advisory Panel purpose

The Panel serves a number of purposes, including:

  • Provides strategic advice to the Department for Energy, Security & Net Zero (DESNZ) on the supply of biomass wood fuel through meetings of this Panel; 
  • Ensures that all participants within the biomass sector have open and fair access to the BSL; 
  • Ensures that fees applied to Suppliers on the BSL are appropriate and kept within reasonable and affordable limits;
  • Ensures that scheme administration and any improvements raised reflect user needs; 
  • Escalates BSL Advisory Panel concerns to DESNZ; and 
  • Develops terms of reference of the annual audit of the BSL Administrator.

The Panel shall consist of up to 18 Members from the following categories:

  • Members representing BSL suppliers (self-suppliers, producers, producer-traders, traders)
  • Members representing fuel types (pellets, chip, logs, waste wood)
  • Members representing raw materials (forestry, waste wood, arboricultural arisings, sawmill residues)
  • Members representing industry bodies (forestry, waste wood fuel, wood heating)
  • Advisory Panel Non Voting Members (fuel quality certification scheme, government forestry (England), government forestry (Scotland), government forestry (Wales)

Some members may represent multiple categories, depending on their experience and expertise.

Please note: closing date for nominations is Sunday 12th November 2023.

If you would like to be considered to represent industry on the Biomass Suppliers List Advisory Panel, please complete the short survey by clicking ‘Make your nomination’.

The full ‘Terms of Reference’ for the BSL Advisory Panel can be viewed here.

Biomass Strategy published

On the 10th August 2023 government published their Biomass Strategy. This strategy sets out the role sustainable biomass can play in reaching net zero, what government is doing to enable that objective, and where further action is needed.

Biomass Strategy cover image

The Biomass Strategy sets out steps government intends to take to strengthen biomass sustainability and the opportunities for the use of sustainable biomass across multiple sectors of the economy in support of achieving the UK’s net zero target.

It builds on the 2021 Biomass policy statement and the Powering up Britain strategy which emphasised the important role that biomass will play in Britain’s fully decarbonised power system by 2035, subject to security of supply.

The Biomass Strategy document can be downloaded from the .gov website.

End of suspension of period for pellets

This is to inform you that the Government have decided to end the suspension of the requirement to use EN Plus A1 pellets – when the 12-month suspension period lapses.  This means that from 23 November 2023, all wood pellets used to claim NDRHI payments must adhere to the requirement to use EN Plus A1 pellets in accordance with the regulations.

Audit Non Compliances

When you receive an email from the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) stating that you have been selected for an audit you may take it in your stride but for many people this email hits a stress button and you wonder why you have been selected and whether you have done something wrong! So, the first thing to understand is we have increased the percentage that is audited on an annual basis so you are now more likely to get one of these emails so there is no victimisation, we are selecting large batches each month to receive an audit.  There is nothing to panic about, take a deep breath, keep calm and read the email carefully. 

There are four main types of audit: 

  1. A telephone audit where an auditor will call you and ask you to talk through what you do.  
  1. A remote site audit where you will take the auditor for a walk around your production site using a phone app, for example ‘What’s App’ or ‘Teams’  
  1. A site audit, where an auditor will visit your depot.  
  1. E-audits where you are required to complete and return an online form.  This form is very clever and should adapt to your answers, hopefully asking you only the questions that are relevant to you.  If selected you will receive an email with instructions. 

In all cases you will be asked in advance to gather together some information and send or upload to the e-audit form.  What this is, depends on whether you are a self-supplier, a producer/trader, or a trader. Read through what is needed carefully and if you have any questions respond to the email with them and someone will get back to you with further clarification.  

Following the audit, you may be sent an email to say that everything was fine, but in some cases, you may have some minor or even major non-conformances that need to be corrected. Minor non-conformances are often easily rectified, for example, you may have forgotten to send across a document or if you are a supplier, you may not be including everything that is required on an invoice. With respect to non-conformances there are strict deadlines which you must meet.  If these are not met, your (suspended pending removal) fuels will be removed and if you still want a BSL number for that fuel you will need to make, and pay for, a new application for each fuel. 

Types of Non-conformance 

Immediate non-conformances mean that your application will be removed from BSL within 1 working day. This might be, for example, if you don’t hold any certification for fuel quality (e.g. Woodsure if you have virgin raw materials). Or for example that no evidence that the timber has been legally purchased e.g. lack of invoices or a notification of illegal felling/warning from the appropriate authority. 

Major non-conformances mean that the application you currently have with the BSL doesn’t match what you have presented to the BSL team (specifically with regards to the sustainability or fuel quality criteria) and will lead to your fuel status being changed to “Suspended pending removal” of a fuel and you must act promptly to provide further evidence/clarification, or you may even need to make a new application. If you have any major non-conformances your fuel would be immediately suspended pending removal and you have 5 working days to complete any actions. If they were not completed by then your fuel is removed and you need to make a new application.  

If you have minor non-conformances you have 20 working days to complete the actions, if they are not resolved within that time frame your fuel status will change to “suspended pending removal” and you have 5 working days to resolve the action. Again, if you do not meet this deadline your fuel will be removed and a new application  would be required.  

In the rest of this article, I will go through some of these minor and major non-conformances so that you can check your fuels and make sure everything is correct. If you find something needs updating, contact the BSL to seek advice and then make any changes if required. 

What do we ask on an audit? 

At the start of the audit, we go through all the details you have provided, including your correspondence and depot addresses, and contact details. If you have moved your production depot and have not made a new application this could be your first major non-compliance. Having a different depot will result in a change in the greenhouse gas emissions of the fuel so it’s critical that new applications are made if you move depot. 

We then ask you to talk through everything you do, from sourcing your raw materials, through production to storage and use or delivery depending on what type of supplier you are. 

Raw materials 

Have your raw materials changed? If they are completely different than on your original application, you may be asked to make a new one. A common error is to select ‘Short Rotation Coppice’ (SRC) when you are actually using raw material derived from traditional coppice. SRC is coppice that is grown as an energy crop which is usually willow densely planted in fields and would be cut every 2-5 years using equipment like a forage harvester. Traditional coppice is cut on a longer cycle can be a range of different species and has a much bigger diameter. If you are using raw materials from traditional coppice and you were a self-supplier this would be classed as ‘virgin’ raw material. If you were a producer trader this would be hardwood roundwood. 

If the distance that your raw materials travels to get to your depot changes by more than 10% a new application will be  required. So, for example if you used to get your raw materials from 1 mile (which was included on the application) away and now its 50 miles, this affects your greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in a major non-conformance and a new application would be required. 

The main area of error with raw materials is with the ‘Land Criteria’. Producers, Traders and Producer-Traders of virgin or virgin/waste blend must demonstrate their compliance with the Land Criteria rules. (Self-Suppliers have different land criteria and waste fuels are exempt from this, see the guidance which can be found using the following links:

As a Producers, Traders, and Producer-Traders when you applied you will have selected one of three types of Land Criteria. Category A is when you can demonstrate that your raw materials and fuel is FSC, PEFC or SBP. Further guidance can be found here  The main non-compliance associated with this is if you were certified but then at a later date have decided to leave the certification scheme. If you haven’t informed the BSL of this change this may be a minor compliance and you will be asked to change your Land Criteria type to a Category B. 

Category B is split into two types, Category B full evidence is when you have a UKFS approved forestry plan in place for all your raw materials (usually appropriate only for those sourcing raw materials from a handful of woodlands), and Category B – Regional Risk Based Assessment (RBRA). Full evidence non-conformances may arise if the forest plan is no longer valid, or if this has been selected by mistake. RBRAs are one of the main areas for non-conformance issues include: 

  • Incorrect depots listed in section 3. 
  • Section 5 not being completed at all when it should be (If you source more than 750t of virgin timber annually this needs to be completed) 
  • Section 5 not matching the information included on the rest of the application. 
  • The types of evidence being collected are not included in the evidence boxes in section 5. 
  • Evidence is not being collected (e.g., felling licences, forest plan or FSC information) 
  • Evidence is not being checked for validity. 
  • Invoices are sent when asked but the information may be on the weight tickets, if so, these should be sent as well. 

Sometimes evidence can be difficult to collect especially if you are obtaining most of your raw materials from smaller woodlands. If you are worried contact BSL and ask for more guidance or check the documents and guidance section on the BSL website (


The key area for errors with the fuel is record keeping. Minor non-conformances often arise from: 

  • Not keeping any records – for self-suppliers and producers that force dry fuel – records of how much fuel is used in the boiler and the moisture content of the fuel. 
  • Not checking the moisture content of the fuel using an appropriate method (e.g., using a pin meter to check the moisture content of woodchip!) 
  • Not having a copy of the Emissions Certificate for the boiler 
  • Not having Woodsure or ENplus certification (this can lead to a major non-conformance) 

If you are selling fuel 

  • Incorrect or insufficient information on invoices to customers  
  • The unit of sale (tonnes/m3/kWh) is not included. 
  • The ISO product specification is not included on invoices. 

Invoices to your customers should include: 

  • Your business address 
  • Your customers address 
  • Dates sold and delivered 
  • The correct BSL number 
  • The moisture content 
  • The fuel specification 
  • Amount sold (including the unit of sale) 
  • If your fuel is a waste fuel the correct waste code 

Major non-conformances can arise if the distance that you deliver the fuel to your customers changes dramatically. For example, if you only had one customer to start with that was less than 30 miles away and then as your business grew you now deliver nationally. However, it may not be if this was a one-off delivery, so keeping track of your weighted average distance to customers is definitely a good thing to keep on top of! 

The key take home message is to keep your records up to date, and if make any changes to the type of raw materials, where you get it from, where you produce your fuel and where you deliver to get in touch with the BSL helpdesk to see if you need to make a new application. This way you can be sure of receiving the email thanking you for your time and stating you have no actions following your audit!