Low-carbon Economy

Oral Answers to Questions — Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th January 2017.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East 12:00 am, 19th January 2017

In what way Church of England asset investments support a low-carbon economy.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I am delighted to be able to announce that last month the Church of England received three awards at the Investment & Pensions Europe awards ceremony, including the award for climate-related risk management, which recognised, among other things, the Church of England’s comprehensive climate policy and commitment to ensuring the reduction carbon in its own portfolio.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

I welcome the Church of England’s moves in this regard, but how does commitment to a low-carbon future sit with reports today that the Church has given the go-ahead for fracking on Church land?

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner

It is not a question of a Church of England go-ahead. This is part of Government policy. On Tuesday, the Church released an updated briefing paper on shale gas and fracking. It does not endorse or reject the outright prospect of fracking, but fracking is acceptable to the Church only if it turns on three points: the place of the shale gas in the low-carbon economy, the adequacy and robustness of regulation, and the robustness of local planning. Of course the Church sympathises with the concerns of individuals and communities that are directly affected by it.