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New deal launched for small carbon forestry projects

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New planting in Horrocks Wood near Bolton

A streamlined and more cost-effective process for certifying and managing small woodlands to the standards of the Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) was launched today. (10 September)

The new deal was launched by Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission, at the Confor Woodland Show at Longleat Estate, Wiltshire.

Sir Harry explained,

“Since we launched the Woodland Carbon Code in 2011 it has been a great success in attracting funding into new woodland projects. The code is designed to help investors compensate for their carbon emissions by funding tree planting. There are now more than 200 projects registered across the UK, of which half to date have been certified.

“To be robust and credible, a certification scheme must be rigorous in its auditing and inspection regimes. However, this incurs costs, and it became clear from experience that the administration and costs involved were prohibitive for smaller projects.

“Now, with a simpler but conservative approach to predicting carbon and dealing with risk, as well as streamlined administration and reduced monitoring requirements, we hope that the small woods process will prove cost-effective to land owners who are looking to undertake smaller woodland creation projects.”

Sir Harry explained that carbon funding can make it possible to establish new woodlands which might not otherwise be possible.

“For example, if you get a woodland grant, but it won't cover all your costs, or if you're unsuccessful in winning a grant, carbon funding for a WCC-certified project could bridge the financial gap and help you to finance a woodland creation project of any size.”

The small woods process can be used for eligible projects planting from 0.1 to 5 hectares net planted area (i.e. the area excluding open ground). Projects smaller than 5ha net currently make up less than 5% of the carbon sequestration predicted for all WCC projects.

Chris Lodge of Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, a group manager for Woodland Carbon Code projects, is pleased to see the introduction of the small woods scheme. He said,

“We welcome this scheme, which should make participation in the Woodland Carbon Code more viable, and encourage many more small woodlands to be created across Yorkshire.

“This will bring many benefits, including flood alleviation, enhanced water quality, and habitat improvements to support Biodiversity Action Plan aims to increase populations of endangered species including black grouse, red squirrel and dormouse. It can also help farmers to diversify their businesses.

“With carbon funding and our own woodland grants programme, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust can help landowners and farmers across England and Wales create new woodlands by providing finance to support targeted planting. We would welcome enquiries from landowners interested in potential woodland planting projects.”

Full information about the small woods scheme is available on the Forestry Commission website at or by contacting .


  1. WCC certification provides an assurance to woodland carbon buyers that the woodlands really do achieve the carbon savings claimed, in addition to being well managed to the requirements of the UK Forestry Standard. This assurance of credibility makes the purchase of woodland carbon more attractive to responsible buyers. The code is administered by the Forestry Commission.
  2. Landowners and project developers can generate income from the carbon being absorbed by their growing trees, and help to tackle climate change, by “selling” the carbon being absorbed by their woodlands. The buyers of this woodland carbon are parties who want to compensate for their emissions to the atmosphere, among whom can be large, well known companies as well as 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 woodlands that might not otherwise get off the ground, while the woodland owner continues to enjoy the other benefits, which can continue to include income from timber production.
  3. 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.
  4. The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust is a registered charity which works to conserve or restore the natural, built, scenic and cultural heritage features of the Dales, including increasing access; supporting the area’s economy, including enhancing employable skills; and supporting Dales people and communities to live and work sustainably in the protected landscape.

MEDIA CONTACT: Charlton Clark, 0300 067 5049