Helen Ghosh, director-general of the National Trust, has stated the organisation supports technologies that “harvest nature” rather than mines it.
The comments follow Ghosh telling the Times that she had an “open mind” about fracking technology. She reportedly told the newspaper that the Trust would consider allowing shale gas extraction on its land.
The remarks caused environmental groups and some of the Trust’s members to question if the organisation was meeting its conservation aims.
Speaking at the charity’s AGM, Ghosh said, “In the last couple of days my post bag has been dominated by the question of energy.”
She continued, “We are worried about carbon emissions and the effects of climate change on our properties and the wider world.
“That is why we support the development of renewable energy and low-carbon technologies that that harvest nature not mine it, and that work in the landscape – particularly in the special landscapes that we look after.”
The Trust also released a statement saying that it has a presumption against fracking because “natural gas is a fossil fuel”. The organisation added that the mining process also “gives rise to potential environmental and landscape impacts”.
Research has suggested that fracking can pose health and environmental risks. A recent report indicated that fracking could pose a “serious threat” to water contamination and claimed that 280 billion gallons of radioactive waste water was produced in the US during 2012.
Protests against fracking have been organised globally, including in Balcombe, Sussex. The Balcombe protest, against fracking firm Cuadrilla, saw 30 people, including Green party leader Caroline Lucas, arrested.