£10m available to farmers through tree planting scheme

Farmers and land managers can apply for a scheme to create new woodlands in a bid to tackle climate change.

The Forestry Commission announced £10m will be available in the second auction of the Woodland Carbon Guarantee.

Launched in November 2019, the Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a £50m scheme that aims to accelerate the rate of woodland planting and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

See also: Farming carbon: How to make money from new woodland

It allows new tree planting projects registered with the Woodland Carbon Code to sell verified Woodland Carbon Units to the government for a guaranteed price set by reverse auction over 30 to 35 years.

The next online auction is due to take place from 8 to 19 June and applicants must sign up by 5 June.

Successful applicants will not be expected to plant their trees until the next planting season (winter 2020/21).

Before applying for the guarantee, participants will need to be registered with the Woodland Carbon Code, which provides the tools and information required to plan woodland and calculate the amount of carbon that it will remove from the atmosphere.

The woodland will also need to comply with the requirements of the UK Forestry Standard.

Long-term guaranteed payment

The first auction closed in February and saw 18 contracts offered by the Forestry Commission to help the creation of 182ha of new woodland.

Further national auctions are anticipated every six months for the next five years, dependent on the rate of uptake and funds.

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.”