Mark Charter is head of Estate Management at Carter Jonas. He has over 30 years’ experience of advising private and institutional clients on all aspects of estate management. Here he explains why he is keen to be involved with the Oxfordshire Treescapes Project.
Carter Jonas’ first instruction was to manage the estates of the Marquess of Lincolnshire in 1855. More than 160 years later, they still look after the estate. But since then, they have built long lasting relationships with a wide variety of clients including private landowners, international companies, major institutions, charities, utility companies and local authorities. Today they manage over 1.3 million acres of land.
Mark grew up on a farm, and his first job was as an auctioneer selling cattle and sheep in livestock markets in Herefordshire in 1987. After studying for a degree in land management at the Royal Agricultural College, he joined Carter Jonas’ Marlborough office in 1991 as an assistant land agent, moving to Oxford in 1995. He has since become both a partner in the firm and head of the Estates Management Team.
“I was invited to get involved with the Oxfordshire Treescapes Project early on, and I agreed to do so as it was clearly an interesting and much needed development, and I was keen to see how it progressed” says Mark. “I have been very impressed by how professional and thorough the project is, particularly given that the team are mostly working voluntarily. It shows a high degree of commitment and expertise, and the partnership with Oxford University is a very promising development.”
Like all agents, Carter Jonas is working hard to understand the new funding streams coming online such as ELMS, Biodiversity Net Gain, the Woodland Carbon Guarantee and the English Woodland Creation Offer, and to determine how best to advise their clients on them.
“We can see that delivering social and environmental benefits from land management is going to be central to securing financial support for our clients in the future” says Mark. ‘The private reporting service that the Oxfordshire Treescapes Project is developing should really help us and our clients to better understand the options.”
Carter Jonas has agreed to trail the reporting service with one of their clients. This will help to understand how the reporting service needs to work to best meet the needs of farmers and landowners. The Oxfordshire Treescape Project plans to provide all its reports through delivery partners who can explain their import, support their use in developing land management plans, and put them into context with a land manager’s other plans and activities. If the trial can be made to work well, Carter Jonas will then become a fully-fledged delivery partner, offering the reports to their other clients.
“The years ahead are going to be challenging and full of uncertainty” says Mark. “Landowners and farmers are being encouraged to engage in a whole new set of performance requirements that go well beyond food production, many of which are still poorly understood and difficult to measure. The Oxfordshire Treescapes Project allows the landowners and farmers who are the stewards of our countryside to get an early insight into the natural capital value of their land and the opportunities it presents. We would hope that the reports they offer will help our clients to get ahead of the game.”