Worcester MP Robin Walker is encouraging land managers in Worcester to get involved in a multi-million-pound government-backed scheme to see more tree planting as part of a woodland creation scheme.

The Forestry Commission has announced that £10m will be available in the second auction of the Woodland Carbon Guarantee. Those who want to get involved need 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. 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.

Robin has long campaigned for greater action on the environment and climate change and is pleased that 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.

Speaking about the scheme, Robin said:

“I am proud of the work that the Conservative Government has done to address environmental concerns and climate change.”

“Encouraging the planting of more trees to create new woods is not only good for our fantastic wildlife, it also helps the atmosphere. We have some amazing countryside here in Worcester and I would encourage land managers to get involved with this scheme, which will benefit everyone.”

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.”

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.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors 

For more information on Robin’s statements on the environment and climate change, please see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/?s=environment

  • The Government is continuing to hold the auction on 8-19 June 2020 and currently will close applications on 5 June, but we will keep this under review. · All application forms including the auction process are completed online in line with latest government guidance.
  • The successful applicants of the second auction will not be expected to plant their trees until the next tree planting season (winter 2020/21). · The Woodland Carbon Guarantee can be used alongside other grants and funds available to plant new woodland as long as Additionality rules under the Woodland Carbon Code are met. · The Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a long-term contract and recipients won’t receive immediate payments. Instead, land managers will receive a guaranteed income for delivered carbon units at agreed dates over 35 years if they wish to sell carbon units to the government.
  • Before you apply for the Guarantee, you will need to have registered with the Woodland Carbon Code, which provides the tools and information required to plan your 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.