The National Trust have launched an ambitious plan to nurse the natural environment back to health and reverse the alarming decline in wildlife. Their strategy for the next decade will also see them invest in looking after the nation’s heritage.
Recognising threats to nature and heritage
Climate change now poses the single biggest threat to the places that the National Trust look after, bringing new, damaging threats to a natural environment already under pressure. It also poses a growing conservation challenge for the houses and gardens in their care.
The countryside had been damaged by decades of unsustainable land management, which has seen intensive farming and now climate change undermine the long-term health of the land. Sixty per cent of species have declined in the UK over the last 50 years, habitats have been destroyed and over-worked soils have been washed out to sea.
Protecting the natural environment
The National Trust shall develop new, innovative ways of managing land on a large scale, which are good for farmers, the economy and the environment. They’ll work with partners to help look after some of the country’s most important landscapes, reconnecting habitats and bringing back their natural beauty.
The next decade will mark a new chapter in their history, which will see The National Trust increasingly join forces with other charities, government, business and local communities to improve the quality of the land and attract wildlife back to our fields, woods and river banks.
Playing their part in mitigating climate change will also be a priority and they’ll cut their energy usage by 20 per cent by 2020 and source 50 per cent of that from renewable sources on land. They'll also explore what role they could play in helping to safeguard the future of public green spaces.
Investing in the nation’s heritage
The National Trust will spend more than ever on looking after our historic houses and collections, clearing the backlog of repairs. They’ll also look at ways to help local communities look after the heritage that’s important to them, playing a leading role in the annual Heritage Open Days event.
As people’s tastes change and expectations grow, they’ll work harder to give our visitors experiences that are emotionally rewarding, intellectually stimulating and inspire them to support their cause. They’ll invest in major changes at our most visited houses to transform how they tell the story of why they matter.
To help members make the most of their membership, most properties will be moving to being open 364 days a year. Members and supporters will get more personalised information from The National Trust about events and activities and will be able to get enhanced information on their digital channels.
Looking to the future and beyond their boundaries
‘The protection of our natural environment and historic places over the past 100 years has been core to the work of the Trust but it has never been just about looking after our own places,’ says Helen Ghosh, The National Trust's Director General. ‘This is a long-term commitment, for the benefit of generations to come.’
‘Our strategy will see us working more collaboratively with a range of partners - we will support where we can and lead where we should,’ adds our Chairman Tim Parker. ‘The National Trust has always responded to the challenges of the time. I believe our founders would be proud of our ambitions and the part we plan to play.’
• Read The National Trust's 10-year strategy ‘Playing our part – What does the nation need from the National Trust in the 21 century?’ (PDF/1.92MB)