Rewilding in New Tenancy Agreements

Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons on 17th June 2021.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Transport)

What steps the Church of England is taking to promote rewilding in new tenancy agreements.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I commend the hon. Lady’s continued focus on this vital area. Our new farm business tenancies strongly encourage good environmental practice, such as ensuring that watercourses are kept clear, hedgerows are well maintained and topsoil is preserved. We are reviewing tenancy obligations as our new environmental strategy is developed.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Shadow Minister (Transport)

I thank the hon. Member for his engagement with me on this issue—and his tolerance, in some cases. I am pleased to see that the commissioners will be carrying out a natural capital audit of their 105,000 acres of land. Can he say whether that is likely to result in recommendations on conservation and rewilding? If so, will he consider looking at the National Trust’s model tenancy agreements to see whether that is something that could be put in future tenancy agreements on the commissioners’ land?

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner

I continue to be grateful to the hon. Lady. The Church wants to be an exemplar in this area. I can tell her that we expect the results of the natural capital audit shortly and will use it to see where we can enhance the environment of our rural land after we have listened to and collected the necessary data from our tenants.