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Church Commissioners sign National Trust’s net-zero pledge

03 December 2021

iStock

Crackington Haven bay in Cornwall

Crackington Haven bay in Cornwall

THE Church Commissioners have joined some of the largest landowners in England to sign a pledge, organised by the National Trust, which commits them to helping the Government to meet its net-zero ambitions and reverse environmental damage.

The organisations — which together own or manage about 30 per cent of English land — agreed the deal in October after a one-day summit at the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate, it was announced on Monday. Among the other signatories were the RSPB, the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Duchy of Cornwall, National Parks England, Soil Association, the Wildlife Trusts, and the Woodland Trust.

The group agreed to work together to ensure that natural resources on their lands, such as peat bogs, woodlands, and rivers, were used to maximum effect to tackle the climate crisis. Participants have also written to the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, giving six practical ways in which they plan to tackle climate change.

These are: reducing greenhouse-gas emissions; creating or restoring homes for wildlife; designing and managing land in consultation with the community; offering benefits such as public access to land and green jobs; maximising the benefits of the location, ecology, and surrounding landscape; and ensuring that land is climate-resilient in the long term.

The Commissioners had a total of 185,000 acres at the end of 2020: 92,000 acres of rural and strategic land and 93,000 acres of timberland. The Commissioners’ Head of Real Estate, John Weir, said: “As an organisation with significant land holdings, we have the potential to leverage our natural assets to deliver positive social and environmental outcomes while still fulfilling our fiduciary duties for the Church. This pact brings together some of England’s biggest landowners, and we look forward to working alongside the National Trust and other landowners in meeting the ambitious targets we have all agreed to set ourselves.”

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