A young woodland in West Lothian, Scotland, has become the first woodland carbon project in the UK to be ‘verified’ as continuing to meet the standards of the Woodland Carbon Code after ‘passing’ its first five-yearly progress inspection.
And most of the rights to the carbon being absorbed from the atmosphere by the 5-hectare woodland at Cairns Farm have been sold through carbon broker Forest Carbon to BWOC, a fuel distribution company which has invested in more than eight Woodland Carbon Code projects across the UK.
Meanwhile, in another important milestone, the amount of carbon predicted to be sequestered, or absorbed from the atmosphere, by trees in code-‘validated’ woodlands has passed 2 million tonnes.
Dr Vicky West, climate analyst with the Forestry Commission, which administers the code, said,
“The Woodland Carbon Code is going from strength to strength as more organisations sign up to compensate for their carbon emissions by investing in growing trees.
“We’ve passed a number of exciting milestones in the past few months. In addition to recording the first woodland verified that it is progressing as planned after five years, and clocking the first 2 million tonnes of predicted sequestration from ‘validated’ projects, we have seen:
- solid evidence of a developing UK market for woodland carbon, with 60 per cent of the carbon ‘units’ predicted to be sequestered by validated woodland having already been sold, to more than 70 corporate buyers;
- companies paying between £7 and £15 per tonne of carbon-dioxide equivalent (tCO2);
- guidance published for verifying every five years that woodlands are continuing to comply with the standards of the code, following a successful pilot project;
- the number of project developers which have taken projects through to ‘validation’ reach 15; and
- two organisations – Acoura and the Soil Association - authorised to carry out verification inspections.
“Best of all, the 15,800 hectares of new woodland which this represents not only helps to tackle damaging climate change, but also provides a range of other benefits, including attractive landscapes, wildlife habitats, water and soil conservation, flood mitigation and places for people to relax, recharge and learn about nature.”
- Forestry Commission staff will attend a number of shows and events across the UK over the summer to explain more about the WCC, creating a woodland carbon project, and buying carbon from code-validated projects. The schedule is available at www.forestry.gov.uk/carboncode-events.
- Further information about the Woodland Carbon Code is available at www.forestry.gov.uk/carboncode: case studies of organisations which have bought woodland carbon, including BWOC, are in the “Buy Carbon” area.
NOTES TO EDITOR:
- WCC ‘validation’ provides an assurance, at the outset and based on robust carbon prediction tools, that the proposed woodlands should achieve the carbon savings claimed by their promoters, in addition to being well managed to the requirements of the UK Forestry Standard. Periodic ‘verification’ provides assurance of the amount of carbon actually sequestered, and that the woodlands continue to be well managed. This assurance of credibility makes the purchase of woodland carbon more attractive to responsible buyers.
- Landowners and project developers can generate income from the carbon being absorbed by their growing trees by “selling” it. The buyers of this woodland carbon are parties who want to compensate for their carbon emissions to the atmosphere, ranging from large, well known companies to small local businesses and organisations. The carbon buyer provides additional funding to help with the cost of establishing and managing the woodland over its lifetime, thereby helping to create new woodland which might not otherwise get off the ground. The woodland owner continues to enjoy the other benefits, which can continue to include timber income.
- Other project developers active in the market are Edenviro, Forest Carbon, Highfield Forestry, LH Farming, Lockhart Garratt, Pitcastle Estate, Scottish Woodlands, The Carbon Tree, The Forest of Marston Vale, The Heart of England Forest, Watston Forestry, White Rose Forest, Will Woodlands, Woodland Trust and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.
- The Forestry Commission works to improve the lives of people through the many social, economic and environmental benefits which can be provided by sustainable trees, woods and forests. It is the government department for forestry in England and Scotland, and administers the Woodland Carbon Code on behalf of all four countries in the United Kingdom. www.forestry.gov.uk.
- The UK Forestry Standard sets out the approach of all four governments in the UK to sustainable forest management. Its associated guidelines set the standards required for aspects such as sustainable timber harvesting, water and soil conservation, protection of the cultural heritage, and community engagement. Applicants for forestry grants and approvals for long-term forest management plans must meet its minimum requirements. www.forestry.gov.uk/ukfs
Media contact: Charlton Clark, 0300 067 5049