Trust members face demo

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People attending the AGM of the National Trust on Saturday, at Bath’s Assembly Rooms, will be greeted by a demonstration by members of Extinction Rebellion groups from Bath, Frome, Salisbury and South Somerset.

 They will be supporting a resolution requesting that the NT sever its links to Barclays Bank.  The demonstration will include Samba drumming and street theatre from the “Blackbirds” group.

According to XR, Barclays is investing billions of pounds in the fossil fuel industry.  In fact, they are one of the top two Banks in Europe when it comes to funding new fossil fuel projects. These investments will mean more fracking, more climate change, and more destruction of habitats  – three things the National Trust stands firmly against.

Extinction Rebellion groups in the southwest are supporting Resolution 6 which calls on the National Trust to conclude all banking, financial arrangements, and ties with Barclays Bank plc by 2024 (link here).  

Dave Searby of Extinction Rebellion said “Climate change threatens catastrophic droughts, floods and famine in our lifetimes.  Barclays Bank wants us to believe they are leading the transition to a greener energy future, but they are actually continuing with massive financing of further oil and gas extraction.  The National Trust generally has a great record on the environment – it should have nothing to do with Barclays”

XR say Barclays is Europe’s second largest provider of financing to top oil and gas expanders.  In March 2020, it committed to being net zero by 2050, but in the following two years it provided US$13 billion in financing for fossil fuel extraction.
This flies in the face of the warnings from the International Energy Agency (IEA) – the world leading energy authority – which in 2021 warned there was no room for new oil & gas fields if we are to keep the world to 1.5 deg C warming.

In early 2022 Barclays published its  long-awaited climate plan.

However this:

  • Did not rule out the company financing new oil & gas projects – For example, Barclays will continue to fund environmentally disastrous Tar Sands Oil extraction.  Furthermore, it is not asking clients to publish robust plans on how they are aligned with a commitment to keeping global temperature rises below 1.5C.
  • Targets for phasing out financing of coal were lax – for example they allow for continued financing of coal power in the USA – even after 2030.
  • Said nothing about continued funding of fracking in the USA

Extinction Rebellion says it also deplores the NT’s support for the proposed tunnel and dualling of the A303 on its land around Stonehenge, and urges Trust members to support the resolution against the proposed desecration of this iconic and sacred site. 

The organisation says there is no place for road expansion at this level at a time of climate emergency, and the more than £2bn that it will cost – during a cost of living crisis – could be better spent. The engineering works associated with constructing a 3km tunnel would do significant damage to the surrounding landscape and wildlife, and destroy priceless archaeology. In addition, UNESCO – who have already stated that the scheme is incompatible with a World Heritage Site – may well withdraw its WHS status, and all the benefits that brings.

XR say it is the Trust’s duty to protect our heritage and culture; to be the caretaker of the second of Britain’s sites to lose WHS status – the only country where this has happened – would make a mockery of that role.