Agricultural land owned by College
Dear St Antony's College,
SOS-UK is developing a programme to support universities and colleges to manage the agricultural land that they own to achieve their Net Zero targets and to support the recovery of nature and biodiversity in the UK.
We are writing to all universities and colleges across the UK to find out if they (or any wholly owned subsidiary) own agricultural land, so that we can plan our new programme to best fit the needs of the sector.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, we would appreciate it if you could please provide us with responses to the questions below, to help us with this important work.
We define a "wholly owned subsidiary" to be a company or other formally recognised organisation that is under full ownership or control of the college.
We define an "agricultural land" as per the Agricultural Act 1947:
“agriculture” includes horticulture, fruit growing, seed growing, dairy farming and livestock breeding and keeping, the use of land as grazing land, meadow land, osier land, market gardens and nursery grounds, and the use of land for woodlands where that use is ancillary to the farming of land for other agricultural purposes ( https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo...>)
Our request below therefore excludes any woodland that is managed for commercial production.
Please could you tell us:
1. Does your college, and/or any wholly owned subsidiary, own any agricultural land in the UK?
2. What is the approximate total area, in hectares, of the agricultural land holdings owned by your college, and/or wholly owned subsidiary, in the UK?
3. If the agricultural land that your college, and/or any wholly owned subsidiary, owns is split over multiple holdings under separate management, please could you tell us the number of separately managed agricultural holdings?
4. How many hectares of the agricultural land owned by your college, and/or any wholly owned subsidiary, are managed by staff employed directly by your college and/or the subsidiary?
5. How many hectares of the agricultural land owned by your college, and/or any wholly owned subsidiary, are leased to one or more tenant farmers?
6. Please tell us the type of leases in place on that tenanted land: (a) farm business tenancy (subject to the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995), (b) annual grazing/cropping license, (c) full agricultural tenancy (subject to the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1986), (d) other (please specify)
If you are interested to find out more about this work on farming, climate and nature please get in touch at [email address].
Dear St Antony's College,
I am getting in touch because we have not yet received your response to our FOI request about your agricultural land holdings.
We have written to all universities across the UK to find out if they (or any wholly owned subsidiary) own agricultural land, so that we can plan our new programme on nature and climate positive land management to best fit the needs of the sector.
Your response is a really valuable part of the information we need to do this effectively.
We have used the FOI process to get as complete a set of data as possible and it is a legal requirement that you respond to reasonable requests and that you do so within 28 days of receipt. As I am sure you are aware, the FOI Act states that it is "the duty of a public authority to provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so", and the ICO consider it best practice to provide "arguments or evidence" when applying this exemption. So far we have had a response from 65% of universities across the UK.
We would really appreciate it if you could let us know when you plan to respond to our request.
If you have any questions about it please don't hesitate to contact us.
Thanks very much,
Kate & the Food and Farming Team @ SOS-UK
Per my email to you of 22 June 2023 (attached), St Antony's College does not own any agricultural land. Our response is therefore a 'nil' return.
Tanya Baldwin (she/her)
St Antony’s College | University of Oxford
Oxford OX2 6JF | www.sant.ox.ac.uk
Registered Charity Number: 1141293
For information about how we process personal data please see our Privacy Notice
Dear St Antony's Bursar,
Many thanks for taking the time to reply to our request. Your response is really valuable in helping us to assess the potential for farmland holdings in the education sector to have a positive impact for the climate and nature.
If you have any questions about our research or our programme, please feel free to get in touch with the team at [email address].
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