Jump to Navigation

July 15, 2009: The UK has released its Low Carbon Transition Plan. The Plan plots out how the UK will meet the cut in emissions set out in the budget of 34% on 1990 levels by 2020.

The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan: National strategy for climate and energy. Chapter 7: Transforming farming and managing our land and waste sustainably. Page 160-161:

Protecting, managing, and growing our forests
In 2007, forests in England removed a net total of about 2.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This removal rate is declining, as forests planted in the 1950s to 1980s reach maturity. If woodland creation and removal continue at their 2007 rates, it will drop to around half a million tonnes per year by 2020, and if woodland creation stops entirely it will fall to only a hundred thousand tonnes.

Woodland creation is a very cost-effective way of fighting climate change over the long term, but it requires an upfront investment. The Government is already doing this: woodland creation represents 60% of the grant aid administered by the Forestry Commission. But to realise the potential for 2050, we need to see a big increase in woodland creation – and we need to plant
sooner rather than later.

The Government will support a new drive to encourage private funding for woodland creation. If we could create an additional 10,000 hectares of woodland per year for 15 years, those growing trees could remove up to 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide between now and 2050. Well-targeted woodland creation can also bring other benefits, including a recreational resource, employment opportunities, flood alleviation, improvements in water quality, and helping to adapt our landscapes to climate change by linking habitats to support wildlife. The Government will ensure that woodland creation policies continue to respect the benefits and demands of landscape, biodiversity and food security.

This will allow businesses and individuals to help the UK meet its carbon budgets, whilst delivering the other benefits that woodlands can bring. A number of informal schemes already exist, and the Government will work with them and with the private sector to consider how it can build on and complement existing initiatives. The Government is already laying the groundwork: including through the consultation on a Code of Good Practice for Forest Carbon Projects led by the Forestry Commission, and the Government consultation on corporate carbon reporting guidelines, which sets out how funding for domestic emissions reduction projects can be reported in company accounts.

Bear in mind: currently 8,4% of Englands area is woodlands (~ 1.1 mill. ha). Increasing wooldand by 10.000 ha per year for 15 years, will grow woodland area of England by 13% to a total of 9,5%.

Find exhaustive UK Forest Statistics here

Plan to boost UK woodland to tackle climate change

Millions of trees should be planted to cover an extra 4% of the UK in woodland in order to tackle climate change, the Forestry Commission has recommended.

It said planting 23,000 hectares a year would make a "significant" contribution to meeting lower emissions targets.

Trees suck carbon dioxide from the air and store it in wood, cutting the level of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said the government would work to ensure the planting programme happened.

'Carbon locked up'

He said: "We cannot underestimate the role that trees will play in reducing our carbon emissions.

"Greater forest cover can help us achieve this either through directly absorbing CO2 or by providing more sustainable materials for construction and renewable energy."

The recommended planting - equivalent to 30,000 football pitches a year - would bring the UK's total woodland cover to 16%.

Professor Sir David Read, chairman of a panel of scientists who carried out the research, said: "By increasing our tree cover we can lock up carbon directly.

"By using more wood for fuel and construction materials we can make savings by using less gas, oil and coal, and by substituting sustainably produced timber for less climate-friendly materials."

The researchers said carbon storage declined as younger trees matured, so tripling tree planting could help reverse those declines.

The study suggested planting a diverse mix of native broadleaf trees rather than replacing the dense conifer plantations which are now being felled.

It is hoped the latest plan would absorb 10% of the UK's target of slashing its emissions of greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050.

Sue Holden, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said her conservation charity had called for native tree cover to double.

She said: "The UK is one of the least-wooded countries in Europe. There is an urgent need to create landscapes that enable wildlife and people to better adapt to climate change.

"New native trees and woodland would help make existing habitats more resilient and increase opportunities for wildlife to move in response to change.

"They would also substantially improve water quality, reduce flooding, counter air pollution and cool our towns and cities."

Mr Benn added: "As a nation we need to plant a very large number of trees over the next 40 years to tackle climate change by bringing down our carbon emissions.

"The government will work with communities and businesses to ensure that this happens."


Issued by:  BBC News



Issue date: November 25, 2009

Link to Article: Origin of this text


Another quite challanging program is the renewable energy program of the UK:

United Kingdom has arguably the most ambitious GHG emission reduction targets in Europe. Under the EU Renewable Energy Directive the UK is committed to increasing the renewable energy share of the country's final energy use to 15% in 2020, from just 1.3% in 2006. Although in percentage terms most other countries have higher renewable energy targets for 2020, no other EU country is starting from such a low base.

In terms of renewable electricity, the UK's targets are even more ambitious. Last year the government published its draft renewable energy strategy which proposed that electricity suppliers should generate 30­-35% of their electricity from renewables by 2020, up from just 5.3% in 2007. Although some of the big utilities are questioning the wisdom of aiming at such a high target, arguing that over-investment in the supply of intermittent wind energy may crowd out investment in much more reliable baseload nuclear energy, the government shows no sign of reducing it.

The total annual requirement of 206 million GJ greatly exceeds the availability of woody biomass in the UK, at least in the medium term, a fact which explains why all the projects are located in ports or close to the coast. The government's strategy foresees the supply of an additional 1.0 million dry t/y of wood from UK forests by 2020 and the planting of 350,000 ha of perennial energy crops (yielding an average of, say, 10 t/y of dry matter per hectare). Together these new sources of woody biomass might yield about 80 million GJ/y of energy, but this is barely 40% of the requirements of just the 12 projects discussed here, before even starting to consider the UK's requirements for renewable heat and eventually biofuels.

Clearly, if these projects go ahead - the UK will become a very major importer of biomass: 206 million GJ/y equates to about 12 million t/y of pellets or 20 million t/y of green woodchips, equivalent to the wood requirements of at least four world-scale pulp mills. Satisfying this demand will be a major opportunity, and a challenge, for the entire feedstock supply chain, from forest and plantation owners, to pellet producers, traders, shipping companies and port operators globally.





UK: Woodland creation part of national Low Carbon transition strategy


Blog | by Dr. Radut