Church of England: Tree Planting

Church Commissioners written question – answered at on 25 April 2024.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, whether the Church plans to take steps to plant trees on diocese lands.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Second Church Estates Commissioner, The Second Church Estates Commissioner

Diocesan land is managed by individual dioceses at a local level and, as such, the Church Commissioners are unable to plant trees on diocesan property. However, the Church Commissioners work with diocesan teams and other church bodies to encourage the responsible use of land, reducing carbon emissions and increasing biodiversity where appropriate, including incorporating environmental improvement into food production.

The Church Commissioners’ rural estates team has assisted with the creation of a guidance note for diocesan officers on ‘managing land for climate and nature’, attended net zero meetings, and engaged with local diocesan environmental officers. Staff from the Rural Estates team have also met with the Rural Bishops Group to illustrate their work managing the rural estates and share experiences that apply to dioceses. They will continue to share details of tree-planting undertaken by the Commissioners with our diocesan partners and are keen to work together on further improving and implementing good practice.

In 2023, the Church Commissioners planted over 1.5million trees on their Forestry and Farmland holdings, 700,000 of which were in the UK.

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