3 Nov 2013

Can we Trust the National Trust?

How can the National Trust possibly have an “open mind” about fracking? According to this Guardian article, they do... http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/24/national-trust-open-land-fracking

According to the National Trust’s website, “We're a UK conservation charity, protecting historic places and green spaces, and opening them up for ever, for everyone.” Just given the visual impact of fracking, you might imagine the National Trust would not support it, but apparently National Trust director-general Dame Helen Ghosh has said that her organisation has an "open mind" about allowing fracking on its land. When did this policy come in, and why were members not informed that the National Trust apparently no longer intends to protect green spaces?

Local Green Cllr Molly Scott Cato said, “I am shocked by Helen Ghosh’s comment. How unbelievable that they will protect the view but not the groundwater.”

The National Trust was set up in 1894 "for the purposes of promoting the permanent preservation for the benefit of the nation of lands and tenements (including buildings) of beauty or historic interest and as regards lands for the preservation (so far as practicable) of their natural aspect features and animal and plant life:" (www.nationaltrust.org.uk) Helen Ghosh doesn’t appear to be aware of this.

Locally, The National Trust is responsible for Woodchester Park, Crickley Hill, Rodborough Common, May Hill, Lodge Park and Sherborne Estate as well as buildings. How can any organisation responsible for places of such beauty and local importance, be willing to consider fracking them?

I’ve talked to someone who manages the twitter account for the National Trust, and they say that their presumption is against fracking. What they could not explain to me, was why Helen Ghosh has been quoted saying something apparently so at odds with their policy. In this more recent Guardian article, Helen Ghosh claims she was the victim of misquoting, but does not explain what she said, or the context her words were taken out of. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/30/george-monbiot-national-trust-wind-fracking-dame-ghosh she does say, "Would we ever? It's a hypothetical question, until we have answers to the issues that currently concern us." That still sounds more like an 'open mind' than a clear cut 'no' to me.
We watch and wait, and keep up the pressure to make sure that our most beautiful places are indeed in safe hands.

No comments: