Call for Biodiversity Sites Guidance Note: Carbon Storage

Climate change is linked to increased emissions in the atmosphere generated by industrial and natural sources. The most produced and most well-known is carbon dioxide.

The UK government has set a legally binding target to achieve ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the Council has committed to meeting net zero area-wide emissions by 2045.

This will require major changes in the way land is managed in the district alongside decarbonisation of energy, transport and other sectors.

The natural environment can play a vital role in tackling climate change as healthy ecosystems take up and store a significant amount of carbon in soils and vegetation.

By restoring natural systems, carbon can be stored to compensate for emissions that occur elsewhere in the district. This is typically achieved through nature-based solutions e.g. tree planting or peat restoration.

What type of land could be considered?

Carbon storage can be achieved in a range of locations depending on the natural systems to be restored.

All sites, except private gardens, will be considered – including in and on the edge of towns/villages and in the countryside, with a preference for the following:

  • Sites that contain peat
  • For tree planting, sites should:
  • Be 0.5ha or more, 20m or wider. Larger sites of 5ha or more are preferred, but multiple sites near each other will be considered.
  • Have the potential to improve connectivity between existing woodland or riparian sites.
  • Aid with flood management.
  • Provide access and enhance green spaces in and around settlements.

A site being used for carbon storage means that managing the site for that use becomes the primary objective of that land.

Existing and new Agri-environment schemes such as Countryside Stewardship Scheme have rules around compliance and double funding. These would need to be considered and may preclude such land being used.

Landscape considerations

Any tree planting and peat restoration needs to be consistent with the landscape character of the area.

The management approach should also work with soil conditions and geology of the area.

The Bassetlaw Landscape Character Assessment summarises the different landscape character types, the actions that can be taken for nature and the key sensitivities to consider in each part of the district.

Management Duration

The site would need to be kept for carbon storage for a minimum of 30 years.

What benefits does a carbon storage site have?

The Council understands that landowners need to think carefully about making decisions about their land for the next 30 years. Submitting a site now is an expression of interest, it does not provide a commitment to using the land for carbon storage in the future.

Each site will be different, and each landowner will have their own needs and priorities to think about.

There are several delivery mechanisms available for landowners/land managers to take forward suitable projects including selling carbon credits from tree planting. Other national grants/funding may also be available.

If a project can also be used to deliver biodiversity net gain, landowners will be able to sell the biodiversity units of that site to developers. Developers will also have to provide maintenance contributions to support any biodiversity provided for 30 years.

Carbon storage can help improve soil and water quality. It can also help manage flood risk on land and up and downstream.

Next Steps

All submitted sites will be considered by the Council’s Climate Change team. Following assessment, they will provide landowners/land managers with support for applications for nature-based carbon storage solutions on appropriate sites.

Last Updated on Wednesday, March 20, 2024