A NEW £50m scheme which pays farmers to plant trees has been launched by the government.

The new Woodland Carbon Guarantee will encourage farmers and landowners to plant more trees and create new woodland in return for payments as those trees grow.

It aims to give land managers the long-term financial income they need to invest in carbon sequestration – the process by which trees lock up and store carbon from the atmosphere.

The scheme also encourages landowners to get involved in order to provide themselves with a range of other ecosystem benefits such as preventing flood risk, soil conservation and boosting biodiversity.

Successful participants will be offered the option to sell Woodland Carbon Units to the government over 35 years at a guaranteed price set by auction, providing new income for land managers who help businesses compensate for their carbon emissions.

Forestry and climate adaptation minister, Zac Goldsmith, said: “Woodland creation is an excellent way to help combat the effects of climate change.

“By supporting farmers and land managers who decide to invest in tree-planting, we are making sure we tackle climate change through nature-based solutions and – as part of our 25 Year Environment Plan – help leave the environment in a better state than we found it.”

To apply for the Woodland Carbon Guarantee, land managers need to register their projects with the Woodland Carbon Code, which provides the tools and information required to plan your woodland and calculate the amount of carbon that it will remove from the atmosphere. The woodland will also need to comply with the requirements of the UK Forestry Standard.

Farmers can apply alongside other woodland creation grants, such as the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.