How the National Trust is tackling the climate crisis

How the National Trust is tackling the climate crisis

How the National Trust is tackling the climate crisis

As well as measures to cut emissions and improve flood defences, the body is calling for action from government

Storm-damaged cliffs and beach on the south shore of Brownsea Island, owned by the National Trust, in Dorset.

Thu 7 Oct 2021 01.00 EDT

Once seen as a sleeping green giant, the National Trust is now at the cutting edge of action on the climate crisis. Faced with large sections of the coastline it owns being undermined and overwhelmed by the sea, it is creating salt marshes and allowing sand dunes to migrate inland.

Many of its rangers go about on electric bikes and use battery-powered tools rather than diesel or petrol, thus cutting pollution and giving visitors a quieter time. It is all part of the ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Planting 20m trees in the next 10 years is not just a token carbon capture plan but a way of reducing flood risk, preventing landslides, creating shade at properties that overheat in summer and providing more homes for wildlife.

What the National Trust has never been a campaigning organisation. It has been careful to avoid politics, fearing a backlash from governments. However, a greater danger is now the future of its properties. It has tried the gentle approach by inviting ministers to threatened sites to see what can be done, but now, impatient with government indifference, is supporting the Climate Coalition. This is a group of 100 organisations asking its members to sign a petition demanding immediate government action.

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