The business of carbon net zero

There’s no doubt that climate change and nature decline are the big buzzwords within the UK’s rural land sector as both Holyrood and Westminster push to meet their Carbon Net Zero targets by 2045 and 2050 respectively.

How we address these issues is placing new demands on the landowners and land managers who, as custodians of the landscape, must find a balance between securing the natural environment for future generations while supporting the multiple objectives the land must meet.

While the growing number of government targets has opened up new opportunities for the land-based economy, the application of carbon and ecosystem investment and natural capital concepts is still in its infancy and further complicated by different legislation, aims and targets both sides of the border.

At Bell Ingram we believe that a practical land management strategy is the key to navigating this fast-developing landscape and unlocking associated opportunities.

Woodland Carbon

Carbon in forestry is the hot topic at the moment. Not only does planting trees help to combat global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide, but it has the potential to generate a significant additional income for landowners.

In essence, this is because Woodland Carbon (and Peatland) is tradable and has a value. Carbon sold when trees are planted (or Peatland restored) can provide landowners with additional income. And verified carbon can be used by business to offset their UK carbon emissions.

The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC), which is administered by Scottish Forestry, is the quality assurance standard for woodland creation projects in the UK and generates independently verified carbon units. Backed by government, the forest industry and carbon market experts, the Code is unique in providing woodland carbon units right here in the UK.

Bell Ingram has an established track record of delivering Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) projects, successfully implementing both native woodland and commercial conifer schemes ranging from a few hectares to many hundreds.

From woodland creation through to long-term forest management and timber harvesting, our carbon team can offer a comprehensive range of environmental services and have the expertise to ensure the carbon opportunity in your new investment is developed to maximise potential.

Peatland Restoration

Peatland is an excellent carbon store. The hydrology of peatland, in its natural waterlogged state, prevents carbon within organic matter at the surface oxidising and being released as carbon dioxide. Restoration is crucial as degraded peatland has been contributing to rising carbon emissions.

While woodland creation carbon work is already well established, Peatland Restoration is less advanced and although there are many schemes (and even more planned) the general belief is that there will be major changes to come in order to make this more appealing/available in the future.

Like the Woodland Carbon Code, the Peatland Code is a voluntary certification standard designed to provide assurances to carbon market buyers that the climate benefits being sold are real, quantifiable, additional and permanent.

The Code was developed in 2015 and is managed by the IUCN Peatland Programme. The reduction in carbon emissions by peatland restoration is quantified, validated, and verified in a similar way to the Woodland Carbon Code.

Get in touch

Done right, these new natural capital markets offer exciting opportunities. However, carbon funding is a fast-moving and developing area and we strongly advise both buyers and sellers of carbon to take professional advice.

Please contact Partner and Head of Carbon Mike Thompson at Bell Ingram for more information. Tel. 01738 621 121 or email mike.thompson@bellingram.co.uk

Mike Thompson

Partner
Rural Land Management
Thirsk
Tel: 01845 522 095

Article posted on 10/02/2022

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