Legislation to allow Kew Gardens to lease out unused and non-core buildings looks set to become law after a bill backed by Richmond Park and North Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith passed its first hurdle in the House of Commons unopposed.
Zac first brought the Kew Gardens (Leases) Bill to Parliament in January 2018 but its progress had been stalled by not being allocated time for debate until the Government was persuaded to bring forward the bill itself. If enacted, Kew Gardens could be in line for significantly more revenue as its trustees will be allowed to approve leases on its land for up to 150 years, as opposed to a much less commercially attractive 31 years at present.
Zac, who visited Kew Gardens on Monday, spoke in the Commons debate on the bill as the MP representing Kew. He praised the gardens as “one of the great wonders of the world” and called for the Government to do all it could to support them.
Responding, Environment Minister David Rutley said of Zac: “I say a huge thank you to him for his remarkable work and support for Kew over the years. He also does a huge amount on the wider debate about biodiversity and climate change, for which many Members—not least DEFRA Ministers—are extremely grateful.”
The full transcript of Zac’s speech can be found here