Carbon scheme will pay a guaranteed income for 35 years, says Defra
Farmers have until 24 April to apply for funding from the latest tranche of money to support woodland creation and tackle climate.
Some £10m is available from the Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme. It gives land managers the option to sell Woodland Carbon Units to the government at a guaranteed price protected against inflation.
Farmers must apply ahead of a fifth auction which will take place online on 9-15 May. Previous auctions have helped stimulate 2,650ha of tree planting, with long-term payments made to farmers for the amount of carbon a new woodland will store.
Administered by the Forestry Commission, the £50m Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme aims to help accelerate woodland planting rates and permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Successful bidders have the option to sell woodland carbon in the form of Woodland Carbon Units – a financial value given to each tonne of carbon stored – to the government over 35 years at a guaranteed price protected against inflation.
Defra says the scheme reflects the government’s confidence in the continued growth of markets for woodland carbon. It says landowners will continue to benefit from a reliable revenue stream in selling carbon on the domestic market.
Before applying, land managers must register with the Woodland Carbon Code. Farmers are also advised to take independent advice so they are happy with the income they are expected to receive from the scheme.
Forestry Commission chairman William Worsley said: “This pioneering scheme could be the perfect fit for land managers of all kinds looking for long-term income support for creating new woodlands.
“Now in its fifth round, it’s encouraging that this scheme has continued to grow in its success. I strongly encourage farmers, foresters and land managers across England to submit their applications.”
Previous auctions supported a range of projects – including in the east of England and parts of the Midlands where tree planting has been lower in recent years. The average bid accepted in the fourth auction was £18.62 per woodland carbon unit.
Encouraging diverse woodland types and tree species is a key goal in the Forestry Commission’s efforts to treble tree planting rates in England by the end of this Parliament. It aims to see 30,000ha of trees planted across the UK per year by 2025.