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BBF Launch UK biochar Accreditation Scheme – The Low Carbon Economy Starts Today!

Press Release –  First Accredited Biochar Product Achieved in the UK Market

11th May 2016

Today the UK’s first accredited biochar product is launched at the Low Carbon Swansea event.  Biochar is a soil amendment that improves soil structure, fertility, health and biodiversity.  Biochar also stores carbon in the soil for centuries, helping to reduce the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere that cause climate change.  Biochar is produced from wood and other organic matter.  The accreditation is through the Biochar Quality Mandate (BQM), a rigorous health, safety and sustainability assessment process, which is managed by the British Biochar Foundation (BBF).

To gain accreditation, the product has been carefully analysed in independent testing laboratories to ensure that it contains no contaminants and so is a safe material to add to the soil. The accreditation also requires that the production of biochar is clean and that there are no dangerous environmental emissions.  Finally, the accreditation also guarantees that the biochar is produced from wood sourced from sustainably managed forestry.  Common Vision’s product EarthChar has been awarded High Quality Biochar status as a result of its exceptional quality.

The accreditation gives the purchaser the confidence to know that what they are buying is a high quality, clean and safe product, the manufacture of which has been done to the highest environmental standards and which has not involved the use of any unsustainable wood.

Sion Brackenbury, Director of Commons Vision said “It has taken us five years of extensive, collaborative research to get here.  All of our partners, funders and supporters are thrilled that we have achieved this exacting standard.  We look forward to working with our new brand EarthChar.  With a range of new, exciting and truly sustainable products for the UK market”

Darren Hopkins and Dr. Simon Shackley of the British Biochar Foundation are just as pleased.
“This is a massive step forward for the low carbon economy the Government so desperately needs and will help provide a sustainable future for us all. We are so proud to have worked with Commons Vision to get their first EarthChar product through the UK’s biochar accreditation scheme and hope that this is just the start of great things to come.” said Darren Hopkins.

Professor Alayne Street-Perrott, Swansea University Biochar Research Team, said “Our research, published in Nature Communications in 2010, showed that production and deployment of sustainable biochar could play a significant role in slowing global warming. Our team has worked very hard in partnership with Commons Vision to demonstrate the practical value of this approach, and we congratulate the company on this tremendous achievement.”

Notes to Editors

(i) Commons Vision was established in 2008 and provides ecological and environmental services to common land managers, farmers, local authorities, third sector and voluntary groups.  The ethos of the company is to develop complete life cycle solutions to the many and varied challenges facing the wider environment and as such works in close collaboration with many partners organisations to achieve this.  In particular, the Biochar Research Team at Swansea University, led by Professor Alayne Street-Perrott and Natural Resources Wales.  With generous support from the European Social Fund (KESS and ATM Post Graduate Studentships Scheme), R H Southern Trust, Soil Fertility Project, Technology Strategy Board and Natural Resources Wales.

(ii) The British Biochar Foundation (BBF) is a membership-based community-interest company (SC447026) which was established in 2013 to serve the interests of the UK biochar community through information sharing, facilitating networking and assisting in regulatory development. The Biochar Quality Mandate was developed in 2012-2014 with the generous support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

(iii) Low Carbon Swansea is a network of public, private and voluntary organisations in south west Wales working together to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs. It facilitates quarterly training and networking events and encourages knowledge sharing and collaboration between members. The May event is hosted by the award-winning Down to Earth Project and focuses on the links between carbon management and green infrastructure.

(iv) Swansea University is a world-class, research-led, dual campus university.  The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 showed the University has achieved its ambition to be a top 30 research University, soaring up the league table to 26th in the UK, with the ‘biggest leap among research-intensive institutions’ (Times Higher Education, December 2014) in the UK.   The University has ambitious expansion plans as it moves towards its centenary in 2020, as it continues to extend its global reach and moves closer to realising its ambition of being a top 200 Global University.  Swansea University is a registered charity. No.1138342. Visit

(v) Biochar is a solid material obtained from the thermochemical conversion of sustainably sourced biomass in an oxygen-limited environment, using clean production processes and which is used for any purpose that does not involve its rapid mineralisation to CO2.

(vi) Contact Details

British Biochar Foundation:   Dr Simon Shackley:   07920 066830

Darren Hopkins:       07598 332498

Commons Vision: /

Siôn Brackenbury: 07879 557740

Swansea University Biochar Research Team: Professor Alayne Street-Perrott 01267-290268  07816 308013