On 19th January 2017 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered questions in the House of Commons from MPs on Israel/Palestine, human trafficking, prisons, social media, low carbon economy, tourism and lead theft. The transcript is below:
On the 25th January, Baroness Royall of Blasidon asked the government “what assessment they have made of the social and environmental impacts of the potential extraction of coal-bed methane on forests such as the Forest of Dean.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, this Question raises a much broader issue, which concerns many people, about the protection both of the ancient forest lands and of the forestry estates. Could the Minister update your Lordships’ House on what progress has been made towards the appointment of the new public forest body, which was the recommendation of the independent forestry report? If no progress has been made, what role is, for example, the Forestry Commission taking in protecting this land, which the public hold so dear and for which they have such great concern?
On 10th November 2014, the Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, took part in a division of the House of Lords, on an amendment to the Government’s Infrastructure Bill.
Labour Peer Baroness Worthington moved amendment 113G, to insert the new clause Underground access: environmental protection, which sought to create new regulations for the extraction of oil and gas through the process known as fracking.
The Bishop of Lichfield voted ‘not content’. No bishop voted ‘content’.
There were Contents: 141 | Not Contents: 237 | Result: Government Win
Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP answered a written question on fracking.
Sir Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners believe that the Government has awarded a number of Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDL) which cover wide geographical areas and these include some interests held by the Commissioners. To date no approaches have been made to the Commissioners and no applications have been received from any potential Licensors.