The Forestry Commission has today (Tuesday 14 April) announced that £10m will be available in the second auction of the Woodland Carbon Guarantee. Land managers across England are encouraged to sign up to the scheme by 5 June, ahead of the next auction which will take place online from 8 to 19 June.
Launched in November 2019, the Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a £50 million scheme that aims to help accelerate woodland planting rates and permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Successful participants will be offered the option to sell Woodland Carbon Units to the government over 35 years at a guaranteed price set by auction and protected against inflation, providing new income for land managers who help businesses compensate for their carbon emissions.
This announcement follows the success of the first auction which closed in February 2020 and saw 18 contracts offered by the Forestry Commission to help stimulate the creation of 182 hectares of new woodland, specifically to help combat climate change.
Sir William Worsley, Chair of the Forestry Commission, said: “The Woodland Carbon Guarantee is the first scheme of its kind to provide land managers with long-term certainty of a guaranteed payment rate for carbon, which their trees lock up and store. I’m excited to announce that the first auction has successfully encouraged projects in parts of the country where new planting has been lower in recent years, and across a good range of woodland types.
“There is no reason to delay applying and to plant trees now – I strongly encourage all land managers thinking about planting to sign up ahead of the second auction in June.”
The outcome of the first exploratory auction in February paves the way for larger scale projects to secure funding in forthcoming auctions. A series of auctions will take place every six months for up to five years.
Speaking of the benefits of the Guarantee, Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “Trees are a precious natural asset and, as a natural carbon sink, are a vital part of the fight against climate change. “In addition to providing long-term income support to land managers for creating new woodland, it is our hope that this Guarantee will play an important role in developing the domestic carbon market in future.”
Greg Beeton, Divisional Partner & Agricultural Business Consultant from project developer Brown & Co, said: “We have a long standing involvement in woodland creation so it was great that we were able to help identify landowner clients of ours which could benefit from the Woodland Carbon Guarantee. We were excited to see that a number of our clients were successful in the first auction and will now be able to capitalise on the support that the scheme provides, by planting woodland to replace areas of unproductive farming land for example. I would certainly encourage landowners to consider the many benefits of the Guarantee. The support provided by the Forestry Commission was fantastic and the scheme could potentially provide new longer term income streams for landowners that can complement more traditional farming incomes.”
The government manifesto commits to increase planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025. This spring a new English Tree Strategy will be consulted on, looking at policies to expand, support and increase public engagement with woodlands.
Apply for the Guarantee here.