Rules strengthened around woodland carbon schemes

17 May 2022

Article: 56/1912

On 6 May 2022, Scottish Forestry announced that new measures would be introduced to the Woodland Carbon Code on 1 October 2022, aimed at maintaining the code's gold standard for verifying carbon credits associated with woodland planting schemes. 

There has been rapid growth in the carbon market, with a fourfold increase of projects having registered with the Woodland Carbon Code, and for increased scrutiny, Scottish Forestry will strengthen the code with revised additionality tests. It is hoped these tests will foster trust in the opportunities that forestry has to deliver high quality carbon credits. 

Demand for carbon credits has been cited as one of the reasons for the current high prices being paid for plantable land and it is hoped that the new tests will cool this trend by reducing the risk of over-bidding by those buying land, who might otherwise expect part of the cost to be recouped from carbon credits. 

The key changes to the additionality tests are:

  • simplification to make it easier for project developers and validators to use them
  • some standardisations to ensure they are applied consistently
  • changes to ensure that high land values do not skew the calculations 

The changes to the rules are also in line with the Scottish Government’s recent announcement on new Interim Principles for Responsible Investment in Natural Capital, which ensures woodland projects deliver social, environmental and economic benefit. 

The additionality tests were reviewed by a stakeholder group of forestry and land interests. This included two independent assessments by a senior economist and an international carbon markets expert. 

Source: Scottish Forestry, 6 May 2022