The National Trust has an ‘open mind’ when it comes to fracking, however it is unlikely to ever give the green light to a wind farm, according to its Director General Dame Helen Ghosh.
According to Dame Ghosh, the charity – which protects historic and natural spaces in the UK – would not rule out oil wells on its land.
Speaking to the Times she commented: “I think it is unlikely we would ever promote or allow a windfarm on our land.”
The National Trust chief also underlined that the organisation is concerned when it comes to proposals for offshore wind farms.
She added the charity is currently conducting its own studies into the environmental impact fracking could have on the earth.
She explained: “We all have yet to see what the surface environmental impact of fracking is and when we have seen it then we would reach a view about whether [we would object to it] adjacent to National Trust land or on National Trust land.”
However, the National Trust’s new viewpoint appears to be something of a U turn for the charity. As recently as August, its website read that it has “a presumption against fracking on National Trust land” as natural gas is a fossil gas.
On the website, it said that mining for fracking is essentially digging up a finite resource which then generates damaging greenhouse gases when it is burned. This approach is against the charity’s views on energy use.
In August, the National Trust commented: “Fossil gas is a finite resource that can only be mined and not harvested – it is not renewable.
“Its combustion produces greenhouse gases which we believe contribute to climate change.
“Climate change has a significant adverse impact on our core purpose of looking after special places, for ever for everyone.”
The National Trust on energy generation
The National Trust laid out that its approach to energy generation is firstly to cut consumption of it at properties that are directly managed by the National Trust, and secondly to generate as much renewable energy as possible. However, this must be done in a way that respects the landscape and environment.
It has pledged to cut the use of fossil fuels by half within the next decade, and also reduce its carbon emissions from energy use for heat and electricity by 45%. It is aiming to beat the government’s target of a 34% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020.
This follows comments by Prime Minister David Cameron who recently announced a review of competition within the energy market. He indicated that he is keen to “get to grips” with green regulations, which the big six energy companies have claimed are significantly pushing up energy bills.