Land criteria evidence – how hard is it?

Land criteria... these two simple words can fill most people with fear and confusion, and I can understand why. The guidance from BEIS and Ofgem is vague at best, and it’s difficult to understand what it means for you. There is no “one size fits all” answer, but having dealt with a variety of different fuel applications it gives us a good idea of what is easy, reasonable and importantly, will meet the requirements.

To get started, here are some simple questions that you can ask yourself:

Is my fuel grown under a voluntary scheme such as the Energy Crops Scheme?

If it is, then all you need to do is provide a copy of the authorisation letter for the scheme. Easy!

Was the land that my biomass fuel is grown on protected in January 2008?

By protected we mean that it wasn’t a forest, or designated for nature protection or highly diverse grassland, for example. If it was then your fuel will not be considered sustainable. However, if the land use was changed after January 2008, you may still be able to register. See our guidance notes for more information about the change of land use.

Do I have Basic Payment Scheme forms for January 2008?

If you do, then you just need to provide copies of this form showing field numbers and crop codes. Easy!

Do I have Rural Land Registry Maps from 2008?

If you do then you just need to provide copies of the forms. Easy!

But what if you no longer have these records? Well, there is other evidence that we can consider:

  • Aerial photos e.g. Google Earth showing historical land use in 2008
  • Crop records from 2008 showing what was planted on your land


We are well aware that sometimes there just isn’t one easy answer and we are here to help steer you through this part of the process in order to get the best evidence possible. Spending a little time understanding what is required now, will ultimately make for an easier ride if you are audited in the future. 


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