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Regenerative Agriculture

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 22 April 2021

What steps the Church of England is taking to support regenerative agriculture, plant more trees and be effective stewards of hedgerows on its land. (914548)

I recently met Environment Ministers to discuss this issue, and the commissioners are working closely with the Forestry Commission and other similar landowners to share best practice to improve the environment of rural let estates. We are encouraging regenerative farming practices, with new farm tenancies including obligations on soil health at the beginning and end of tenancies.

I thank my hon. Friend very much for his excellent answer. The Church owns more than 100,000 acres of forest land, including large areas in Wales. How are the Church Commissioners ensuring that woodland can be sustainably managed, and that species such as red squirrels and hedgehogs are being adequately protected?

I thank my hon. Friend for that question. I can tell her that the Church Commissioners own 95,000 acres of forestry across the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States of America and Australia; 2,166 acres of our forestry is in Wales. All our forests conform to the UK woodland assurance scheme and the UK forestry standard and have Forestry Stewardship Council certification, which the World Wide Fund for Nature recognises as the hallmark of responsible forest management.