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Smallholdings estates

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Labour, Cambridge 2:15 pm, 5th March 2020

I appreciate what the right hon. Member says. We are not seeking to stop that kind of process. We are trying to make it more difficult for councils to respond to funding cuts by selling county farms, which in some ways I do not criticise because they face difficult choices. If that practice is not stopped, then, frankly, it will go on happening, unless there are significant changes in funding for local authorities.

In recognition of the key role that local authorities can play in incentivising these farms to be environmental public goods, we would also require local authorities to submit proposals on how they intended to manage their smallholdings in a way that contributed to those various public goods, including the mitigation of climate change and reducing gas emissions. As discussed, our new clause would also limit the continued disposal of farms by stipulating that no local authority smallholding would need to have its ownership transferred unless that was clearly in accordance with those purposes.