Bishop of St Albans asks about food prices

On 19th May 2022, the Bishop of St Albans asked a question during a debate on inflation and food prices:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his replies on this important area, but is he concerned, as a number of people are, that some farmland is now being taken out of production because it is being bought by companies for carbon offset? Indeed, one of the issues about some of the rewilding is that, sometimes, good farmland, which could help us, is now not available. What are Her Majesty’s Government doing to increase our food production, both for our own security but also so we can export to help those other countries that are facing huge hikes in prices?

Lord Benyon (Con): Rewilding Britain is the campaigning organisation promoting rewilding and I think it has a target of 5% of the United Kingdom by the end of this century, which will not have an impact on food prices. It will, because of the change in the way we are supporting farmers, be bits of land that most farms can make available for ecological use rather than food production, without at all impacting on the food we eat. However, the right reverend Prelate raises a very important point about the way that some of the trillions of dollars of so-called ESG money is being spent in certain areas. The Government are taking this very seriously, because the S in ESG matters; the social dimension of how this money is spent, in what is called green finance, is really important. We need to protect our food security in the future and we are looking at this—not just ourselves in England but working with the devolved Governments to make sure that ESG money is being spent in a way that is honest, is not greenwash and does not curtail our ability to continue to feed ourselves.


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