Church of England Estate: Woodland

Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons on 15th October 2020.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Transport)

What proportion of the Church of England’s estate is covered with woodland.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

In December 2019, the Church Commissioners had 53% of their global land, 27.5% of their UK land and 4% of their English land in forestry, and we also own pooled timber funds in the United States.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Transport)

The 4% English cover puts it at the very bottom of the list. As I understand it, there are 105,000 acres in England. Why is the figure so low? Is there not a strategy to increase that cover, given that we know how important the role of trees is in natural carbon sequestration? Could the Church of England not do an awful lot better when it comes to England?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

Like the hon. Lady, I strongly want to see more trees planted, and can tell her that so far this year we have planted 1.1 million trees in the UK, on top of the 2.6 million last year. We are always looking to plant more trees, but most of our rural estate is high-quality agricultural land, and is held in long-term tenancies to produce food.