Conservation Covenants – DEFRA's Response

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has published a response to the consultation on a new statutory scheme.

In July 2019, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published its response to the earlier consultation on a new statutory scheme for conservation covenants. The final legislation is due to go through Parliament in October 2019.

What is a conservation covenant?

A conservation covenant is a private voluntary agreement between a landowner and a "responsible body" (expected to be a conservation organisation, possibly a charity or a public body) to manage their land for a conservation purpose for the public good. This could be to conserve the natural or historic environment of the land.

These conservation covenants are intended to run with the land and bind future owners, but the terms are expected to be open to negotiation, including the duration of the covenant.

This forms part of the Government's 25 year plan to protect and improve habitats and wildlife. Conservation covenants will form part of the wider package to replace the current farm subsidy system (basic payment scheme) and replace it with a new environmental land management system. The Government is exploring new and innovative funding and delivery mechanisms, which may include private payments for ecosystem services, reverse auctions and conservation covenants.

Who would be involved in a conservation covenant?

It appears there will be scope for responsible bodies to include for-profit organisations as well as charities and other conservation organisations - these will be designated by the Secretary of State and will be required to submit annual returns to provide information about the covenants they are involved with.

In order to enter into covenants, tenants must have a lease of more than 7 years. It is possible that a number of adjoining landowners (and tenants) will collaborate to enter...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT