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UK Woodland Carbon Code

Find out the basics of the UK Woodland Carbon Code, how you can find out more about it and what action you can take

The UK Woodland Carbon Code

The Woodland Carbon Code is the voluntary standard for woodland creation projects in the UK that will make claims about the carbon dioxide they sequester. Independent certification to this standard provides assurance and clarity about the carbon savings of these sustainably managed woodlands.The Code sets out design and management requirements for voluntary UK-based projects that aim to sequester carbon through woodland creation.

The scope of the UK Woodland Carbon Code

The Woodland Carbon Code Standard, UK Registry, Guidance, application, validation and verification processes apply and are managed at UK level. You can find out more by visiting the Forestry Commission’s website, which covers all aspects of the Code including:

  • The basics of the Code, its Standard, guidance and governance
  • Measuring carbon, monitoring and reporting
  • UK Woodland Carbon Registry – search tool, rules, case studies and statistics
  • Application processes and guidance for landowners, developments, project design, validation, verification, templates and guidance
  • Woodland Carbon Units and information for buyers

On the website you can download the Woodland Carbon Code Standard and guidance documents. You can also view case studies, find out how to get and stay certified and find out more about the role of trees, woodland and carbon.

Registering for the code

Applications are invited for woodland creation projects wishing to register and become certified as meeting the standards of the code. Projects should be registered within two years of the date tree planting starts. You can find out how to do this by following the links on the Forestry Commission website.

The need for a carbon code

While society must take every effort to reduce its CO2 emissions, tree planting can also play a role by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The potential of woodlands to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere while providing a host of other benefits for society and biodiversity is becoming increasingly recognised, and many individuals and businesses wish to contribute to tree planting to help society soak up the carbon it emits. Before investing in such projects, however, people want to know that schemes will actually deliver the carbon savings that they claim.

The Woodland Carbon Code provides that reassurance. The voluntary code encourages a consistent approach to woodland carbon projects, and offers clarity and transparency to customers about the carbon savings that their contributions may realistically achieve.

Compliance with the code means that woodland carbon projects:

  • Are responsibly and sustainably managed to national standards
  • Can provide reliable estimates of the amount of carbon that will be sequestered or locked up as a result of the tree planting
  • Must be publicly registered and independently verified
  • Meet transparent criteria and standards to ensure that real carbon benefits are delivered

To meet the requirements of the code, projects must:

  • Register their project, stating the exact location and long-term objectives of their project
  • Meet national forestry standards to ensure they are sustainably and responsibly managed
  • Have a long-term management plan
  • Use standard methods for estimating the carbon that will be sequestered
  • Demonstrate that the project delivers additional carbon benefits than would otherwise have been the case
  • Maintain verification for the duration of the project

Projects that meet all these requirements can carry the Woodland Carbon Code label of approval.

The Code works for everyone involved:

  • Customers have reassurance that they have invested in a responsible scheme and can see the benefits that will be provided
  • Projects have recognised procedures and standards to work to, and can use their verified status as an attractive selling point for potential customers
  • Woodland managers have clearly set out standards of forest management to follow

You can contact the UK Management Team by sending your enquiry to climatechange@forestry.gov.uk. Further details of advisors and country contacts are given on the Forestry Commission website https://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-8avlnv

The Wales policy contact is via the Welsh Government Forest Policy Team bill.macdonald@wales.gsi.gov.uk

If you would like to contact the Sustainable Forest Management Team in Natural Resources Wales you can send your enquiry to sfmt@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

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