Farmers in England will soon be able to apply for funding worth £10m to create woodlands via a scheme which provides new income in the form of long-term payments.
Applications for the Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme will open from 24 April, Defra announced on Wednesday (16 March).
The scheme provides new income for farmers and land managers in the form of long-term payments for the amount of carbon new woodland will store.
Defra has confirmed that the Woodland Carbon Guarantee's fifth auction will take place online between 9 and 15 May.
Following the auction, successful bidders will be offered the option to sell woodland carbon in the form of Woodland Carbon Units, a financial value given to each tonne of carbon stored.
Woodland Carbon Units are then sold to the government over 35 years at a guaranteed price protected against inflation.
According Defra, previous Woodland Carbon Guarantee auctions have together helped stimulate 2,650 hectares of tree planting.
The outcome of previous auctions supported projects across England at a range of scales, the department said, including in the South West and East where tree planting has been lower in recent years.
The average price of bids accepted in the fourth auction was £18.62 per woodland carbon unit.
Sir William Worsley, chair of the Forestry Commission, said the scheme could be 'the perfect fit' for farmers looking for long-term income support for creating new woodlands.
“Now in its fifth round, it’s encouraging that this scheme has continued to grow in its success," Sir Worsley added.
“I strongly encourage farmers, foresters and land managers to submit their applications to the Guarantee ahead of the application deadline on 24 April.”
Farmers wanting to apply for the Guarantee will need to have registered with the Woodland Carbon Code first.
This provides information required to plan woodlands and calculate the amount of carbon that it will remove from the atmosphere.
The woodland will also need to comply with the requirements of the UK Forestry Standard.