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Smallholdings estates

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West 2:00 pm, 5th March 2020

With this it will be convenient to discuss new clause 26—Smallholdings estates: land management—

‘(1) A smallholdings authority which immediately before the commencement of Part 1 of this Act holds any land for the purposes of smallholdings shall review the authority’s smallholdings estate and shall, before the end of the period of eighteen months beginning with the commencement of Part 1 of this Act, submit to the Secretary of State proposals with respect to the future management of that estate for the purposes of—

(a) providing opportunities for persons to be farmers on their own account;

(b) providing education or experience in environmental land management practices;

(c) providing opportunities for increasing public access to the natural environment and understanding of sustainable farming;

(d) contributing to a mitigation of climate change, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,

(e) providing support for innovative food production techniques (including techniques which do not involve management of land), and

(f) providing opportunities for innovation in sustainable land management practices.

(2) No land held by a smallholdings authority as a smallholding immediately before commencement of Part 1 of this Act is to be conveyed, transferred, leased or otherwise disposed of otherwise than—

(a) in connection with the purposes listed in subsection (1); and

(b) in accordance with proposals submitted under subsection (1).

(3) For the purposes of this section, “smallholdings authority” has the same meaning as in section 38 of the Agriculture Act 1970.’.

This new clause would limit the disposal of smallholdings (“county farms”) by local authorities and would require local authorities to review their holding and submit proposals for future management to provide opportunities to extend access to farming, education, and innovation.