On Monday 4 November 2019, alongside the Forestry Commission, Defra announced the launch of the £50m Woodland Carbon Guarantee (WCaG) to help boost tree-planting rates in the fight against climate change.
The WCaG is an incentive scheme which will provide long-term payments to landowners in England for carbon sequestration - the process by which trees lock up and store carbon from the atmosphere.
Successful participants will be offered the option to sell Woodland Carbon Units to the government over 35 years at a guaranteed price set by auction, providing new income for land managers who help businesses compensate for their carbon emissions.
The Forestry Commission’s Forest Services (FS) will deliver the scheme as part of our work to expand England’s tree and woodland cover.
Speaking of the new scheme, Forestry and Climate Adaption Minister Zac Goldsmith said:
Woodland creation is an excellent way to help combat the effects of climate change.
By supporting farmers and land managers who decide to invest in tree-planting, we are making sure we tackle climate change through nature-based solutions and – as part of our 25 Year Environment Plan - help leave the environment in a better state than we found it.
“The Woodland Carbon Guarantee means that now - more than ever - there is no reason to delay planting trees.
Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission, said:
The Woodland Carbon Guarantee is an innovative new financial incentive for the mitigation of carbon dioxide emissions. By underpinning the carbon price I hope it will give confidence to landowners and investors, and encourage the planting of the right kind of trees at a viable scale. I am delighted that the Forestry Commission has been able to work with Defra to launch the scheme.
Creating more woodland is vital in the fight against climate change, and the Guarantee provides land managers with long-term certainty of a guaranteed payment rate for carbon, which their trees lock up and store.
I urge all land managers and owners thinking about planting to look at the scheme and apply for the Woodland Carbon Guarantee ahead of the first auction which will be held early next year.
Government-appointed Tree Champion Sir William Worsley said:
Land managers across the country can support me in my role as Tree Champion by tapping into the environmental and economic benefits of planting more trees.
The Woodland Carbon Guarantee provides an exciting opportunity for land managers to be rewarded for enhancing the environment on a sustained long-term basis.
The role trees play in combating climate change cannot be underestimated and by applying to the Guarantee you will also play a crucial role in helping with the UK’s efforts to hit Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.
To apply for the Woodland Carbon Guarantee, land managers need to register their projects with the Woodland Carbon Code - the voluntary standard for UK woodland creation projects where claims are made about the carbon dioxide they sequester.
Responsible dog ownership report
There has been speculative coverage in the Sunday Express and the Daily Star Sunday this weekend which claims that the government is looking into a £100 annual tax on dog owners to discourage people from dumping pets.
However, this is not the case. The research on responsible dog ownership, which Defra has commissioned academics at Middlesex University to undertake, may note that in some countries a £100 annual tax on dog owners is in place; however this is not being considered by the government.
A Defra spokesperson said:
Ministers have not asked officials to look into taxing dog ownership and are not considering this policy.
This research is still ongoing and has not yet been presented to Ministers. This report will only consider responsible dog ownership in the UK. The report is looking at measures on dog control in other countries but not at tax issues.
The report will be published in due course.