The UK government has launched its Woodland Carbon Guarantee, a new £50m (€57.92m) scheme aimed at promoting tree planting to fight climate change.
Under the Woodland Carbon Guarantee, farmers and landowners in England will be encouraged to plant more trees and create new areas of woodland, in return for which they will receive payments as the trees grow. The guarantee is a long term contract; participants will be offered the option to sell Woodland Carbon Units to the government at a price determined by auction every five or 10 years.
Forestry and Climate Adaptation Minister Zac Goldsmith said: “Woodland creation is an excellent way to help combat the effects of climate change. By supporting farmers and land managers who decide to invest in tree planting, we are making sure we tackle climate change through nature-based solutions and – as part of our 25 Year Environment Plan – help leave the environment in a better state than we found it. The Woodland Carbon Guarantee means that now – more than ever – there is no reason to delay planting trees.”
The UK government has committed to planting 11 million new trees by 2022, as part of its goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In addition to acting as a natural carbon sink, trees can provide an array of additional benefits for ecosystems; including soil conservation, biodiversity preservation and flood prevention.
Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission, said: “The Woodland Carbon Guarantee is an innovative new financial incentive for the mitigation of carbon dioxide emissions. By underpinning the carbon price I hope it will give confidence to landowners and investors and encourage the planting of the right kind of trees at a viable scale. I am delighted that the Forestry Commission has been able to work with Defra to launch the scheme.
“Creating more woodland is vital in the fight against climate change; and the Guarantee provides land managers with long term certainty of a guaranteed payment rate for carbon, which their trees lock up and store. I urge all land managers and owners thinking about planting to look at the scheme and apply for the Woodland Carbon Guarantee ahead of the first auction which will be held early next year.”