Are you thinking about planting some new woodland?
We outline some aspects for consideration and the options currently available here:
What size of woodland will you create?
For an area greater than 3 hectares but less than 10 hectares:
Woodland grants within Countryside Stewardship can offer one off grants to support the preparation of a Woodland Management Plan and planting.
1. Apply for a Woodland Management Planning grant.
This will provide a flat rate payment of £1,000 towards the cost of preparing a 10 year woodland management plan which meets UK Forestry Standards. This plan will help with the design of the scheme, species planting plan, stocking density, access routes, thinning plan, vermin control etc. An Environmental Impact Assessment is also required. These plans are usually prepared in consultation with the Forestry Commission.
2. Consider registering under the Woodland Carbon Code.
This code has been set up by the government and is a voluntary initiative with approved standards/certification for new woodland. The advantages of registration mean you are then able to get the best value out of the woodland through selling carbon credits in the future. Selling carbon credits can be done two ways either through open market or through the Woodland Carbon Guarantee which requires a preapplication and if successful applicants would be awarded a 30-35 year option contract (see below). The selling of carbon units is based on the amount of carbon captured depending on species, soil type etc. There are standard calculations for this.
To meet the requirements of the Woodland Carbon Code, projects must:
- Register the project, stating the exact location and long-term objectives of their project;
- Meet national forestry standards to ensure they are sustainably and responsibly managed;
- Have a long-term management plan(see point 1);
- Use standard methods for estimating the carbon that will be sequestered;
- Demonstrate that the project delivers additional carbon benefits that would not otherwise have been the case.
- Maintain verification for the duration of the project.
3. Consider applying for Woodland Carbon Guarantee.
Successful applications would be awarded a 30-35 year option contract. The Woodland Carbon Guarantee provides you with the option to sell your captured carbon in the form of verified carbon credits, called Woodland Carbon Units (WCUs), to the government for a guaranteed price every 5 or 10 years up to 2055/56. This provides an additional long-term income from your woodland. If you prefer, you can still choose to sell the credits on the open market rather than to the government.
At present the market is yet to really get established meaning the government option is the safest with a guarantee however it is anticipated that the open market will accelerate and returns will be higher.
WCUs are generated through verification checks carried out under the Woodland Carbon Code, which assess how the woodland has grown and therefore how much carbon dioxide has been captured.
Reverse auctions take place approx. every 6 months and it is at this point the auction price is set. Woodland needs to be independently verified usually by either the Soil Association or Organic Farmers and Growers at 5 years, 15 years, 25 years and 35 years.
4. Apply for the planting grant through the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant.
This pays a one off planting grant of up to £6,800/hectare to supply, plant, weed and protect young trees. Once a grant agreement is offered you have two years to plant the woodland and claim the grant.
For an area greater than 10 hectares:
Woodland grants within Countryside Stewardship (see above) or the Woodland Carbon Fund can offer one off grants to support the preparation of a Woodland Management Plan and planting.
Details of the Woodland Carbon Fund:
1. Apply for a Woodland Creation Planning grant.
This will provide £1,000 plus £150/hectare towards the cost of preparing a 10 year woodland management plan which meets UK Forestry Standards.
2. Consider registering under the Woodland Carbon Code and Woodland Carbon Guarantee as outlined above.
3. Apply for the planting grant through the Woodland Carbon Fund.
This pays a one off planting grant of up to £6,800/hectare to supply, plant, weed and protect young trees plus a further £1,000 per hectare in year 5 after the woodland is successfully established.
If your land falls within 25 mile zone of phase one of the HS2 route there is funding for woodland creation and restoration of plantations on ancient woodland sites.
Under Countryside Stewardship the Woodland Tree Health can provide support for restoration/restocking woodland after felling due to tree health issues, plus support for the removal of diseased trees.
Land planted to woodland may still be eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme.