Government launches new scheme to boost tree planting
The government has launched a new scheme (November 2019) investing £50 million to tackle climate change by encouraging farmers and landowners to plant more trees.
Trees are a natural asset that provide a carbon sink and play a vital part in the fight against climate change and as such woodlands and forests will play an important role in the UK’s efforts to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The new Woodland Carbon Guarantee is designed to encourage landowners to plant more trees creating new woodlands in return for payments as the trees grow. Giving landowners in England long term financial income for participating in carbon sequestration, the process by which trees lock up and store carbon from the atmosphere.
Planting additional trees and creating new woodlands also provides a range of other ecosystem benefits such as prevention of flood risk, soil conservation, and boosting biodiversity.
To apply for the Woodland Carbon Guarantee landowners need to register their woodland planting schemes (no minimum size) with the Woodland Carbon Code with successful applicants then directed to an online reverse auction bid process. To decide on a bid price applicants need to calculate how much money they need per tonne of Carbon Dioxide to make their projects financially viable and worthwhile. If successful at the auctions (which will be held every 6 months) the government will buy the Carbon Dioxide units for the bid price-protected against inflation for the life of the contract! If the traded market carbon prices rise in the future thane any higher market price can be accepted instead of the guaranteed price previously agreed through the reverse auction.
To make the absolute most of a planting scheme a good design is essential, the choice of tree type and planting density influences cost, and good design can also make the best use of available land and provide visual satisfaction.