Code will unlock quality schemes

Published 24th Sep 2010

Planting new areas of forest and woodland can help to counteract greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas - but how do you know if what you want to do will make a difference?

The Forestry Commission is aiming to help through the introduction of a new quality assurance scheme for tree planting projects which are designed to "capture" carbon.

Commission general director Tim Rollinson said the Woodland Carbon Code will encourage a consistent approach to projects, providing clarity and transparency to potential customers and investors about what their contributions should achieve.

A six-month pilot scheme is now underway to test this concept and refine the Code and related guidance, ahead of its launch early next year.

"Increasingly, people and companies are realising the valuable potential that tree planting schemes have to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere," said Mr Rollinson.

"There are many commercial schemes that encourage individuals and businesses to contribute to tree planting, to help compensate for their carbon footprint. But before investing in projects, people want to know that schemes will actually deliver what they claim.

"The Woodland Carbon Code will provide that reassurance and will encourage more investment in tree planting in the UK."

But, in order to comply with the Code, projects will have to be:

  • Responsibly and sustainably managed to national standards
  • Use standard methods for estimating the carbon that will be sequestered or locked up
  • Be independently verified
  • Meet transparent criteria and standards to ensure they produce real carbon benefits

Details of projects, including their exact location and long-term objectives, must be registered with the Forestry Commission. Once approved, they will be included in a national online register.

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