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Woodland Carbon Guarantee Scheme
4 March 2020

Following the publication of the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Government announced in November 2019 that it would be introducing a new £50 million scheme to encourage a rapid increase in the number of trees being planted in the UK. The Government hopes that this scheme will aid the expansion of the domestic market for utilising woodland carbon to permanently reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The Woodland Carbon Guarantee Scheme means that landowners can sell the carbon dioxide that their woodland captures to the Government. The successful participants of the scheme will be paid per Woodland Carbon Unit that their new woodlands produce.

A Woodland Carbon Unit is a measurement of a tonne of carbon dioxide, which has been ‘collected’ in a woodland verified by the Woodland Carbon Code.

The Woodland Carbon Units will be sold to the Government at a guaranteed price every five or ten years up to 2055-56. The price is determined by an online reverse auction and is Retail Price Index linked. The auctions are held every six months nationally for a period of up to five years, dependent on take up and available funds. If an auction bid is successful, the land manager will be offered a conditional 30-35 year contract by the Government.

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to land managers who have control of the land and all the activities needed to meet the obligations of the scheme for its full duration. The scheme application cannot include land:

  • Not entirely within England
  • Owned by public bodies
  • Covered by a statutory requirement to establish or restock woodland
  • If the applicant does not have management control for the duration of the scheme contract and cannot have their application countersigned by the landowner

How to apply

To apply for the scheme, land managers first need to register their project with Woodland Carbon Code and must include calculations of how much money they require (per tonne of carbon dioxide) to make their project viable. The woodland creation project will also need to be managed under the Woodland Carbon Code.

What are the benefits?

The landowner benefits with this scheme include generating a long-term stable income from woodland, as well as having the credibility of being involved with a verified scheme. You can also decide to sell the carbon credits on the open market instead of to the Government at any point, providing flexibility within the scheme.

In addition, there is also the opportunity for land managers to apply for grant support in planting and establishing the woodland through existing schemes.

For further information or to find out how our Rural Property & Business department can help you, please contact Katie.

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