The companies producing 1MW capacity or more using solid biomass or biogas feedstock are needed to demonstrate to claim support under the Renewables Obligation.

In order to ensure sustainability of wood-fuel, the government stated that biomass electricity would produce over 70% greenhouse gas savings compared to fossil fuel alternatives.

Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker said that the coalition is committed to delivering clean, affordable and secure energy for consumers and that includes an important role for biomass power as part of the UK’s energy mix.

"The new criteria will provide the necessary investor certainty and, crucially, ensure that the biomass is delivered in a transparent and sustainable way," added Barker.

New criteria for sustainable forest management are formulated due to the issues including sustainable harvesting rates, biodiversity protection and land use rights for indigenous populations.

Meanwhile, the Renewable Energy Association has welcomed the government’s sustainability criteria stating that it would ensure that only projects with strong ecological protections and high carbon savings can be supported under the Renewables Obligation (RO).

REA chief executive Nina Skorupska said, "These sustainability criteria ensure that the UK can reap the benefits of biomass, safe in the knowledge that it is making a real dent in our carbon emissions and that ecologically sensitive land is being protected.