A voluntary code which is designed to ensure ‘carbon forestry’ projects deliver real and lasting carbon benefits has been opened up to group applications.
The Woodland Carbon Code group validation scheme allows several tree-planting projects to be validated together, making possible potential cost savings.
The scheme aims to make it possible for many more people who want to plant trees to demonstrate that they’re compensating for their greenhouse gas emissions, while creating new habitats for biodiversity.
Until now, validation under the code has been open only to individual woodland projects, but following a pilot involving four groups of projects, group validation is now available to all.
Dr Vicky West, a climate change analyst with the Forestry Commission, which administers the carbon code, said: "We recognise that the cost of gaining validation against the Woodland Carbon Code might be a limiting factor for some potential applicants, especially those wishing to create small woodlands.
"That’s why we’ve introduced this new group scheme to enable the managers of a number of small tree-planting projects to apply for validation as a group, enabling cost sharing and potentially significant savings.
"We hope that the new group scheme will help landowners in the UK with smaller areas of newly planted woodland be able to validate their significant carbon benefits as well as all the many social, economic and environmental opportunities they can provide."
Owners of Woodland Carbon Code-validated projects may sell the reporting rights to carbon locked up by their woodlands to corporate buyers to enable them to compensate for their unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions.
They may also quote their unique Woodland Carbon Code ID, and use the code logo, to reassure stakeholders that their investment really will achieve the carbon benefits they claim.
Further information is available from www.forestry.gov.uk/carboncode, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or from local Forestry Commission woodland creation officers, commercial woodland agents, or carbon companies.