The Daily Telegraph

Climate threatens majority of properties, says Trust

- By Daily Telegraph Reporter

CLIMATE change “hazards” threaten 71 per cent of National Trust properties, the charity has said.

The trust said in a new report that it was already experienci­ng first-hand the consequenc­es of more frequent extreme weather events, such as drought, heavy rain and wildfires, on its sites.

The charity, which cares for 250,000 hectares of land, 780 miles of coastline and 220 gardens and parks, said approximat­ely 71 per cent of the places it looks after could be at medium or high risk of climate hazards by 2060.

It called on the Government to introduce new legislatio­n to make climate change adaption a legal requiremen­t for public bodies. The trust said appointing a minister for climate adaptation in the Cabinet Office or Treasury would also be “pivotal”.

Patrick Begg, outdoors and natural resources director at the trust, said climate change presented “the single biggest threat” to the charity’s mission.

He said: “It demands our urgent and unswerving attention, and we call on our partners and on government­s across the UK to stand with us and to do more to confront the challenges we all face.

“Our responsibi­lity spans hundreds of historic sites, buildings and some of the nation’s most-loved coastlines, rivers and countrysid­e.”

Mr Begg said the organisati­on, which last year welcomed 24 million visitors to its sites, did “not claim to have all the answers”.

He added: “But we do know that adapting to changing climate is essential if the trust is to live up to its founding purpose.”

The charity has also developed a hazard map desktop tool which pinpoints which of its sites are under threat.

Keith Jones, senior national consultant on climate change at the trust, said: “The hazard map flags the risk so that we can discuss with property teams what they are seeing in real terms, such as flooding, wildfire or overheatin­g.

“By doing an ‘on-the-ground’ reality check with property teams, which essentiall­y explores their experience­s and detailed site knowledge, we can then assess the reality of these risks – whether they are great or small – and prepare accordingl­y.”

In response to the report, a Government spokespers­on said the UK was the first country to legislate for net zero.

They said: “In February, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero was created to ensure climate change remains a key focus across Government.”

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