Tuesday 11th of February 2020 | Posted In: Biofuels, Renewable energy, Compliance

Carbon as a crop…

The first Woodland Carbon Guarantee (WCaG) auction of the five-year period is currently underway. This incentive scheme is set to increase tree planting rates across the UK and is part of the government’s 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment. The UK’s commitment to Net Zero by 2050 means storing carbon and producing a market for the sale of carbon credits has gained momentum.

What is the scheme?

As trees grow they sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The WCaG provides those registering with the scheme the opportunity to sell Woodland Carbon Units (WCU) to the government for a guaranteed price, where a WCU is the equivalent of 1 tonne of carbon. There is also an option to absorb carbon and sell it on the open market instead, if a better price can be obtained privately.

What makes land eligible?

The scheme is only open to new woodland that has been registered with the Woodland Carbon Code after the 28 October 2018. The land must be farmland, entirely within England and at least ten hectares in size. Successful applications are then honoured every five to ten years until the end of the scheme in 2055-2056 and auctions are expected to be held every six months for the first five years, dependant on popularity of the scheme.

The application process…

To apply for the guarantee, you will need to calculate the amount of carbon your project will remove from the atmosphere. This can be done using the Woodland Carbon Code’s tool available during the application process. If you are successful, the amount of carbon removed by your project will require validation. You will also need to care for the new woodland in order to ensure successful growth and carbon sequestration.

Government funding

There are two funding rates that can be applied for. If your farmland falls within “standard” areas then 80% of the standard costs for planting and establishment capital items, capped at £6,800 per hectare. If, however, your farmland falls within “priority” areas then 100% of the standard costs can be covered, capped at £8500 per hectare. The funding rates available across the UK can be found here.

If you’re interested in the Woodland Carbon Guarantee, then you can also read more here or call me on 024 7669 8899.