A patch of land on the Isle of Man is set to be transformed into a woodland haven in years to come thanks to a unique new project launched by the Manx Wildlife Trust (MWT).

The scheme, earmarked for the Crossags Fields, which is part of MWT’s Hairpin Woodland Park, will be the first ‘carbon credit’ project launched on the island.

As part of the project, island companies Hansard Global plc, PDMS Ltd and Resilience Management (IOM) Ltd have bought a number of carbon credits, which essentially act as a permission slip to use emissions.

Traditionally, when a company buys a carbon credit, they essentially buy permission to generate a certain amount of C02 emissions, typically one ton.

In this instance, companies will be able to buy carbon credits by paying for trees to be planted at the site Crossags Fields site.

And the income generated by the carbon credits will be used to pay off a low interest ‘green loan’ from Lloyds Bank International which was raised to buy the land.

According to MWT, the Island’s leading charity dedicated to the conservation and protection of the natural environment, the pilot project aims to establish and development an area of native woodland and will eventually create a ‘public amenity space for all to enjoy’.

MWT estimate that the Crossags Fields project will remove around 3,000 tonnes of carbon from the environment over the first 50 years. 

Furthermore, the MWT say that it will be able to hold the land ‘for nature and people alike, becoming a wonderful addition to the landscape of our Isle of Man Biosphere.’

The carbon credits at both MWT Creg y Cowin Nature Reserve and The Crossags Fields are being verified by the Soil Association, using the UK Woodland Carbon Code.

To kick off the project, a tree planting session involving all the parties took place on Monday 18 March.

Leigh Morris, CEO of MWT said: ‘This is a landmark moment for MWT, and we believe the Isle of Man, as we launch our first ever in-island carbon credit project.

‘In 2023 we launched our project at Creg y Cowin funded by Aviva, and I am delighted that we are now working with Isle of Man based businesses PDMS Ltd, Resilience Management (IOM) Ltd, and Hansard Global plc, with another, Lloyds Bank International, providing the financing.

‘This pilot has been over two years in the making, and we have collectively learnt a great deal that we will use to inform the development of a carbon credit project that other businesses and individuals in the Isle of Man can buy-into, and directly contribute to our Island Biosphere’s climate change mitigation and biodiversity strategies.

‘There is some speculation about carbon offsetting globally, but what we are now able to offer the Isle of Man, is high integrity carbon credits - real trees, in real fields, that you can even help to plant, and can visit at any time to see them grow and develop. 

‘Exciting times!’

The Crossags Fields are part of the wider MWT Hairpin Woodland Park project, a partnership project including Rotary Club of Douglas, DEFA and Milntown Estate which will encompass native woodland, wetlands, meadows, and a forest garden to showcase sustainability, wildlife, and carbon capture.

The land purchase was also supported by a grant from the Manx Lottery Trust.

A spokesperson for the MWT said: ‘This pilot project is a testament to the power of collaboration and the shared vision of the parties involved. ​ 

‘Through their combined efforts, they aim to create a legacy of environmental stewardship and community engagement. MWT are now looking to establish more carbon credit projects in Island to support local businesses and the Island’s ambition to become carbon Net-Zero by 2050.’