Kyoto Protocol: Clean Development Mechanism – UK governance

The Environment Agency is responsible for determining applications for the approval of Clean Development Mechanism projects, but the Secretary of State retains discretion to determine applications.



The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, which, in accordance with Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol, allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to a meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction limitation targets.

A designated national authority (DNA) is the organization granted responsibility by a Party to the Kyoto Protocol to authorise and approve participation in CDM projects. DNA project approval is just one of the steps required of CDM projects in the project cycle. For further information on the CDM process please refer to the UNFCCC CDM website. The Environment Agency is the UK’s DNA for the CDM, and issues the letters of approval for voluntary participation in the scheme.

This function has been delegated to the Environment Agency by the Secretary of State, but the Secretary of State retains discretion to require the Environment Agency to refer an application to the Secretary of State for determination.

Documents linked to this page explain the governance of the UK CDM projects. Information on UK approval and authorisation of CDM projects.

Published 6 April 2011
Last updated 12 August 2013 + show all updates
  1. Updated UK Guidance on project approval and authorisation. This guidance, updated previously in June 2011, provides information necessary to obtain a Letter of Approval (LOA).
  2. Policy statement added
  3. First published.