LANDOWNERS are being urged to generate cash by signing up for a scheme to limit climate change.

Woodland carbon credits provide incentives to cut UK emissions and, according to Philippa Cliff of property consultancy Galbraith, offers estate owners tax-free income alongside more traditional forestry revenues.

The Woodland Carbon Code is a UK Government scheme aimed at verifying the amount of CO2 to be captured by new planting. Designed to address the UK’s international environmental obligations, the newly established carbon market allows woodland owners to trade ‘credits’ with companies engaged in industries that produce atmospheric emissions.

Organisers estimate how much carbon will be captured during the lifetime of a woodland project and once validated, the data is issued as pending issuance units. Audits are made at planned stages throughout the life of a scheme to calculate carbon captured – then verified PIUs are ‘converted’ to woodland carbon units and used officially to offset carbon footprints.

"Planters can either sell PIUs upfront and remain tied to delivering target totals over the life of the scheme – up to 100 years – or sell approved woodland carbon units at veri?cation times," explained Miss Cliff. "This second option delays revenue but allows owners to offload carbon in veri?ed batches to a willing buyer and in the event of a land disposal, pass on an asset of unsold carbon.

"A 100-hectare (247-acre) native woodland scheme, capturing 30,000 tonnes of CO2 over 95 years, could yield between £152,000 and £304,000 in carbon revenue depending on carbon value, usually £5-10 per tonne of CO2," she estimated.

"Not only is this a practical and effective way to promote carbon reduction, WCC can signi?cantly affect the returns from forestry, and should be seriously considered by all those undertaking new woodland planting.”