NEW measures are being introduced to the Woodland Carbon Code to make it easier to verify carbon credits associated with planting schemes.

The "additionality tests" will be enforced from October, providing "increased scrutiny" on a rapidly growing market, which has seen a "fourfold" increase in just two years. 

Announced today by Scottish Forestry chiefs, the changes will "simplify" the process, offer more "standardisation" and "ensure that high land values do not skew the calculations". 

READ MORE: Galbraith issues reminder to register under Woodland Carbon Code

It's also hoped the changes will cool the temptation from those 'over-bidding' for land who might otherwise expect part of the cost to be recouped from carbon credits. 

Welcoming the new measures, environment minister Màiri McAllan said:“In the last two years, more than 500 new projects in Scotland have registered with the Woodland Carbon Code, a fourfold increase.

“It is natural for carbon standards to evolve as carbon markets develop. Tougher new tests under the Woodland Carbon Code will provide added assurance to investors, land managers and the public that carbon credits are reliable, credible and crucially, additional in our journey to net-zero.

“The new tests will also encourage species diversity in woodlands, bringing benefits for biodiversity.

Forestry Journal: Màiri McAllan welcomed the move Màiri McAllan welcomed the move

“And strengthened additionality criteria will weed out woodland creation schemes that would be financially viable without carbon credits. This keeps the woodland carbon market in Scotland robust and credible.”

Demand for carbon credits has been cited as one of the reasons for the current high prices being paid for plantable land.  

The new tests may 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.