AGM Results and Statements

The results for the members’ resolutions are as follows: 

Stonehenge A303 motion:

Total votes For            21,903

Total votes Against       30,013

These votes are made up as follows:

Specified votes For                21,898

Specified votes Against             23,303

Discretionary votes For             5

Discretionary votes Against      6,710

Abstentions                     11,089

Result:  The resolution is not carried

Statement on Stonehenge motion result:

National Trust members at today’s annual general meeting have voted against a resolution challenging our conditional support for a tunnel to reduce traffic on the A303 at Stonehenge.

As the Board of Trustees set out in their response, we believe that a tunnel can provide an overall benefit to the whole World Heritage Site if delivered with the utmost care for the surrounding archaeology and chalk grassland landscape.

We share members’ passion for this place and our response to the recent public consultation sets out where we think improvements still need to be made. We will only fully support a scheme when we are convinced it is designed well and will be of overall benefit.

Trail hunting cessation motion:

Total votes For          30,686

Total votes Against       30,985

These votes are made up as follows:

Specified votes For           28,629

Specified votes Against      27,525

Discretionary votes For      2,057

Discretionary votes Against          3,460

Abstentions                1,925

Result:  The resolution is not carried


National Trust members at today’s annual general meeting have voted against a resolution for the cessation of “trail-hunting” on all land belonging to the charity.

Prior to the vote, the charity’s Trustees had recommended that the activity should be allowed to continue after recent improvements in licensing conditions to further safeguard conservation and access on the Trust’s land.

The conservation charity has been carefully listening to both sides of a highly polarised and passionate debate for years.

We are pleased members have had the opportunity to debate this issue and have voted to support the Trustees’ position.


Notes to editors: 

Background on the National Trust and trail hunting:

In August we introduced a number of changes in how we license trail ‘hunts’ to further safeguard conservation and access on our land. Our clear, robust, and transparent set of conditions – which followed a six month review – were designed to allow participants to enjoy this activity in compatibility with our conservation aims. The changes can be seen here:–hunting

  • Hunting wild animals was outlawed in England and Wales by the Hunting Act of 2004: National Trust land is no exception.  The law does allow what is known as trail ‘hunting’ to continue. It effectively replicates a traditional hunt but without a fox being chased, injured or killed.  The Trust does license trail ‘hunts’ in some areas and at certain times of the year, where it is compatible with our aims of public access and conservation.
  •  It’s been a long standing licence condition for all hunts to publicly provide details of where and when they will take place on our land. This is not a new licensing condition and this information has never been a secret.
  •  Currently, many people do contact hunts directly for the information they are entitled to have access to. However, they will then come to the Trust if they don’t get the detail they’ve requested. We believe people have every right to expect us to provide this information so they can, for example, avoid certain areas of countryside when a hunt is taking place or conversely to watch a hunt in their local area. Relying however on small, local teams to respond to a high volume of enquiries related to hunts is a labour-intensive and exhaustive process. It’s also an ineffective way of sharing this information in the digital age, lacking consistency and clarity.
  • As a charity with nearly 5 million members, we believe we should be transparent and to share information of public interest in an easily accessible way. That’s why we are planning to provide details of where and when hunts will take on the ‘outdoor licensing page’ of our website.
  • We believe it is right to minimise as far as possible the risk of foxes or any wild animal being accidentally chased during a trail hunt; moving to artificial scents is part of achieving that aim. We are not being prescriptive about the artificial scent used provided it is not animal based in any way.
  • We are making it explicitly clear to all parties that trail hunting, if properly practised, is legal and a legitimate outdoor activity. We will be approaching trail hunting bodies as well as the League Against Cruel Sports with the express aim of reducing as far as possible the potential for violent or abusive and obstructive behaviour by protestors or followers.
  • We propose to publish on our website the area over which the hunt is licensed to carry out their trail hunting activity, together with the dates on which it will take place. We are not proposing to publish starting points, specific routes and times. We have met with the Masters of Foxhounds Association and Countryside Alliance to listen to their concerns and asked them to put forward any alternative proposals. We are also seeking the views of police. Both the MFHA and CA have acknowledged what we are trying to achieve and we will consider the proposals that they bring forward.
  • We also received a letter from tenants in the Lake District outlining concerns. We have responded and offered to meet them to discuss how we can ensure that trail hunting can operate safely.
  • We keep in regular contact with our tenant farmers. Since the creation of trail hunting post-2004 Hunting Act, we have been in charge of licensing this type of outdoor activity. We have always required trail hunts to gain tenant farmer consent for the trail hunt to cross their occupied land.
  • Tenants have never been the licensor: this is exactly the same as for other landowners. We have tightened rules so that the evidence of prior tenant farmer permission is written, not anecdotal.










Chairman Simon Jenkins’ farewell speech at the Trust’s AGM

WELCOME to Swindon. This has been a good six years in the history of the Trust. We are in excellent shape, the money sound and the membership rising.

You know the figures: membership through 4m, visits to properties through 20m and visits to our wider estate approaching 200m. Our operating surplus has risen by a third, enabling us to spend record sums on conservation, our prime responsibility.

Acquisitions have slowed, but we have taken on Vanbrugh’s mighty Seaton Delaval, Tredegar and Dyffryn in south Wales, Lord Nuffield’s eccentric lodge outside Henley, Arts and Crafts at Stoneywell and the delightful Asalache house (575 Wandsworth Road). We have acquired the last white cliff of Dover and the exquisite Llyn Dinas under Snowdon.

As chairman I can do nothing alone. I want to pay a tribute to my board who have been committed and loyal throughout what have been years of change. I want to pay particular thanks to my deputy Charles Gurassa, who must have broken all records for length of service. And to our new Director General Helen Ghosh who will address you shortly. I also want to thank the staff. We have the best staff in the charity sector.

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National Trust AGM outcomes 2013

National Trust members today (Saturday 26 October) voted against a members’ resolution to introduce an immediate and widespread badger vaccination programme on the charity’s land.

The resolution was suggested by a group of members to help tackle bovine TB and prevent National Trust land being involved in a cull of badgers if one is rolled out by the Government next year.

The charity’s Trustees stressed that their recommendation against the resolution did not mean that the Trust is in favour of culling badgers, and they will take on board the views expressed by many members as part of the AGM debate.

The Trust advocates an evidence based approach to tackling bovine TB which covers an integrated package of measures, including those to improve biosecurity and prevent cattle-to-cattle transmission.

“This is an emotive issue on all sides of the debate,” said Patrick Begg from the National Trust.

“We are in favour of doing what works to solve the problem that is affecting so many of our tenants and farmers across the country.

“Vaccination is our long term preference, both of badgers and cattle, but our badger vaccination trial at Killerton in Devon is only half way through.  It may prove costly and hard to administer in practice.

“We have deep concerns about how useful the Government’s pilot badger culls will now prove, and have sought assurances from them that they remain committed to upholding high standards of scientific rigour in the conduct and analysis of the pilots.  Changes to the original design has shaken our confidence.

“We will judge the outcomes of the pilots, and the Government’s subsequent approach, against the criteria for success set out by Professor Bourne in his review of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial.”

The results of the member votes were:

  • Badger vaccination: 7,808 for the resolution, 8,694 against.
  • Fairtrade tea: 7,337 for the resolution, 9,036 against.

The following members were also elected to the Trust’s Council:

  • John Godfrey, 10,708
  • Rosie Corner, 9,735
  • Irving Lord, 8,175
  • Cristina George, 9,918
  • Geoffrey Nickolds, 7,397
  • John Lyon, 7,548
  • Dylan Williams, 8,406
  • Roseanne Williams, 7,875
  • Caroline Goodall, 9,781
  • Rupert Thorp, 7,524


[1] More information on the members’ resolutions, including the full resolution and the trustee response, is available here: