Aviva Investors, the global asset management business of Aviva plc (‘Aviva’), and Par Equity (‘Par’), the Scottish-based forestry investment fund manager, today announce plans to deliver a significant woodland creation and peatland restoration scheme in the North-East of Scotland that aims to capture over 1.4 million tonnes of carbon.
Aviva Investors and Par have established an investment vehicle which has acquired 6,300 hectares of moorland in the Glen Dye area of West Aberdeenshire as its first investment.
Following detailed public and statutory consultation, applications will be made to undertake extensive peatland restoration work across c.1,800 hectares and new planting over c.3,000 hectares, including up to 1,000 hectares of productive conifer and 2,000 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.
In March, Aviva plc announced its plan to become a net zero carbon emissions company by 2040, the most demanding target of any major insurance company in the world, as part of its plan to become the UK’s leading insurer, and contributing to a sustainable economic recovery.
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Notes to editors
The Glen Dye project
The land acquired extends to 6356 hectares and tree planting applications will be made over the next two or three planting seasons. The scheme will aim to provide an exemplar for modern land use and management. Tree planting will begin by planting adjacent to existing woodland and there will be a diverse mix of trees planted. Planting will be designed to fit into, and enhance, the landscape. A wide variety of tree species will be planted with initial assessments suggesting up to 65% native pine and broadleaves along with 35% productive conifer, of which Scots Pine will form a significant proportion. The project will provide significant opportunities for learning in the fields of land management, forestry and peatland management providing a resource for all age ranges from primary through to further and higher education. Use of the site for educational purposes will be actively promoted.
Founded in 2008, Par Equity is an Edinburgh based, alternative asset manager. Par has been actively involved in commercial forestry and woodland investment over the last 10 years and this is Par’s fourth specialist investment vehicle in this area. Alongside its successful commercial forestry investments, Par also seeks to identify and support early-stage technology businesses. Par currently supports a portfolio of more than 40 companies across Scotland, the North of England and Northern Ireland.
Scottish Woodlands Ltd
Tracing its heritage back over 70 years, Scottish Woodlands Ltd, with its headquarters in Edinburgh, is unique in the forestry sector, being 80%owned by its employees. It specialises in forestry management, timber harvesting and associated services within the UK with 20 offices across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. With 210 employees managing over 300,000 hectares of land the company is currently carrying out over 30% of all new afforestation in Scotland and harvesting over 1.2 million tonnes of sustainable timber per annum.