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Farmers and landowners looking at alternative ways of generating income are being advised to sign up to a new government tree planting scheme by a rural expert at a leading property consultancy. The Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a new scheme launched by the Government which incentivises landowners to plant trees on their land by ‘selling’ the carbon dioxide the trees capture in the form of ‘carbon credits’.

Julie Wade, Senior Agribusiness Consultant at Fisher German’s Newark office, felt the scheme was a great way for landowners to bolster their funds in the long-term. She said: “If farmers or landowners have spare land where they can plant trees, the Woodland Carbon Guarantee is a great way of earning reliable extra income. The credits’ price is guaranteed once it’s been initially agreed, and the government will buy them every five or 10 years up to 2055/56. This will provide regular long-term income for those who plant trees, and also resists the volatility of the price of the credits on the open market. However, farmers can also choose to sell their credits to the open market if they feel they can get a better price for them than what was agreed.”

The scheme is open to land managers who are owner occupiers, tenants, landlords and licensors, as long as they have control of the land. To apply, landowners must register for the ‘Woodland Carbon Code’ – which measures how much carbon their trees will capture. They must then participate in an online reverse auction where farmers make their bids to the government on what price they should buy their carbon credits for. If a landowner is successful, the government will offer them a conditional 30 to 35-year contact which will allow them to plant the trees.
Once the trees are planted, the government will then pay for the credits at regular intervals.

Julie added: “Fisher German is in a strong position to advise on what to bid to the government and recommending a minimum price which landowners should not bid under. But at the right price, this is a scheme that can really help landowners hedge against unexpected issues in the future. This is a scheme which lasts for a very long time, and we will always be on hand to advise landowners every step of the way throughout its duration.”

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