Plans to deliver a significant woodland creation and peatland restoration scheme in the North-East of Scotland have been revealed.
Par and Aviva Investors have established an investment vehicle which has acquired 6300 hectares of moorland in the Glen Dye area of West Aberdeenshire as its first investment, which aims to capture over 1.4 million tonnes of carbon.
Following detailed public and statutory consultation, applications will be made to undertake extensive peatland restoration work across c.1800 hectares and new planting over c.3000 hectares, including up to 1000 hectares of productive conifer and 2000 hectares of native woodland.
The project will be designed, implemented and managed by Scottish Woodlands Ltd, one of the UK’s leading forestry management organisations and undertaken over five years. It is expected to make a substantial contribution to both Scottish and UK forestry planting targets and forms part of Aviva Investors’ Climate Transition Fund and commitment to achieving net zero across the entirety of its Real Assets platform by 2040.
It is expected the project will result in significant employment opportunities, whilst public access and facilities will be enhanced over the land, which is currently enjoyed for its scenic splendour, including the prominent hilltop of Clachnaben.
Daniel McHugh, chief investment officer, Real Assets, at Aviva Investors, said: ‘One of the most critical aspects of the Climate Transition Fund we launched this year is that it materially reduces carbon impact primarily through the decarbonisation of the built environment, but also via nature-based solutions, including afforestation.
‘This is the first of many investments we expect to make in this space, and the intention is for our carbon removal programme to be considered a best-in-class initiative which not only sequesters a vast amount of carbon over its lifetime, but does so in a way that takes into account the surrounding habitats and community. In the case of Glen Dye Moor, we will do this while maintaining and improving the network of access trails, enhancing biodiversity and restoring the degraded peatland across the land.’
Tom Croy, Investment Manager, Par Equity, said: ‘We have been actively involved in forestry investment for 10 years and the acquisition of land at Glen Dye offers a tremendous opportunity to deliver an outstanding project as part of the journey to net zero.
‘It will make a major contribution in terms of carbon capture and peatland restoration at national scale and will also provide employment while protecting and enhancing the landscape for the enjoyment of the many people who live in and visit the area.
‘This is a very positive investment in natural capital and a project that will be beneficial to Scotland in an era where the transition to net zero is such a priority.
‘The acquisition of this land and the proposed project will be undertaken in accordance with the Scottish Government’s Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement and associated protocols and will be subject to full consultation and engagement.’
Future timber produced at Glen Dye will be utilised in accordance with the agreement at COP26 (the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forestry and Land Use) on the use of sustainably-produced wood products.
The project has the potential to lock up an estimated c.1.4 million tonnes of carbon, including c.468,000 tonnes of carbon by 2040 and c.32,750 tonnes annually from 2040 until 2055. Annual carbon sequestration reporting will the follow Woodland Carbon Code framework and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s guidance on greenhouse gas (GHG) forestry accounting.