Fourth Woodland Carbon Guarantee auction dates announced

27 May 2021

  • £10m available from the scheme’s £50m pot for farmers and land managers to create new woodlands to help tackle the effects of climate change.
  • The scheme gives land managers the option to sell Woodland Carbon Units (the carbon captured once the trees have grown), to the government at a guaranteed price protected against inflation.
  • The previous auctions have helped stimulate proposals for over 2,300 hectares of tree planting.

Farmers and land managers across England are encouraged to apply for the Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme by 9 July, ahead of the next auction which will take place online between 26 July and 1 August.

The Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a Forestry Commission administered £50 million scheme that aims to help accelerate woodland planting rates and permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The Guarantee provides land managers with new tree planting projects the option to sell their 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 their woodlands.

This announcement follows the success of the third auction which closed on 1 November 2020 and saw 31 contracts offered by the Forestry Commission, to help stimulate proposals for the creation of 615 hectares of new woodland specifically to help combat climate change.

Sir William Worsley, Chair of the Forestry Commission, said:

“The Guarantee is a unique offering from the Forestry Commission as it provides land managers with long term support for creating new woodlands, based on the amount of carbon they capture.

“The success from the previous auctions demonstrates how this long-term commitment has been well received within the sector and is just one of the ways we are working towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

“This pioneering scheme could be the perfect fit for many farmers and land managers looking to help tackle the climate and nature crises now upon us. If you want to plant this winter, now is the time to submit your application ahead of the auction in July.”

David McCulloch Head of CarbonStore said: “The first auction (in January 2020) saw successful bid prices average £24.11, the second (in June 2020) dropped to £19.71 and prices in the third (in October 2020) fell again, to £17.31. This WCGa is a useful mechanism for understanding minimum prices for WCUs in England. We will be watching the results from this fourth auction closely for a broad guide for the prices which companies should expect to pay and woodland owners should hope to receive.”  

Encouraging diverse woodland types and tree species is a key factor in the Forestry Commission’s efforts to increase tree planting rates in England. This scheme aims to achieve a varied range of projects across different locations and scales.

Before applying for the Guarantee, land managers will need to have registered with the Woodland Carbon Code, which provides the tools and information required to forecast and verify the carbon they are capturing and can sell in future.

The Forestry Commission are at the helm of ambitious new commitments to tree planting to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises. Launched last week during a landmark speech by the Environment Secretary Minister Eustice, the England Trees Action Plan aims to at least treble tree planting rates in England by the end of this Parliament, reflecting England’s contribution to meeting the UK’s overall target of increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of the parliament. As the government’s expert forestry advisors and custodians of the nation’s forests, the Forestry Commission will be a key delivery partner in meeting this ambition and using schemes such as the Woodland Carbon Guarantee to help landowners plant more trees across the country.

If you need help applying for the guarantee please get in touch


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Pending Issuance Unit: A promise to deliver a Woodland Carbon Unit during a given period, based on the trees’ predicted growth Woodland Carbon Unit: A ton of carbon dioxide which has been sequestered in a scheme verified under the Woodland Carbon Code