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A Letter To The National Trust

Dear Sir,

I wish to register my disgust and outrage in the strongest of terms with regard to the corporate vandalism wreaked upon the Uffington White Horse over the recent Bank Holiday weekend.

I was appalled to discover that the National Trust had accepted £2,000 from Channel Four, in order that a 300-ft eye advertising "Big Brother", could be daubed in frighteningly close proximity to the aforementioned national monument. Therefore, I should like to take this opportunity to discuss certain quotes about your ethics and policies, which can be readily found on your website as an incentive for people to become members. These include:

1) "Was founded in 1895 to preserve places of historic interest or natural beauty permanently for the nation to enjoy"

I would be grateful if you could explain to me how an advertisement placed clearly within the space of a national monument is permanently preserving a place of historic interest. Although you might say it was a temporary painting, I wonder how a person who has travelled several miles for the one visit of their life to this monument might feel on seeing such a thing. It hardly seems an action consistent with preserving places of historic interest or natural beauty permanently for the nation to enjoy.

2) "Relies on the generosity of its supporters, through membership subscriptions, gifts, legacies and the contribution of many thousands of volunteers"

As I understand it, accepting £2,000 from a business in order that that business may promote it?s wares is not either a "membership subscription", "gift", "legacy", or a "contribution from a volunteer". I would suggest to you that it is, in fact, a business transaction.

3) "Owns more than 248,000 hectares (612,000 acres) of the most beautiful countryside and almost 600 miles of outstanding coast for people to enjoy"

Clearly, I can't speak for all your visitors, but my guess is that most of them would not enjoy seeing an advertisement for a game show when they are visiting some of the "248,000 hectares (612,000 acres) of the most beautiful countryside".

4) "Looks after forests, woods, fens, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, nature reserves, villages - for ever, for everyone"

I fail to see how these actions are "looking after archaeological remains for ever, for everyone". I would welcome an explanation.

5) "Spends all its income on the care and maintenance of the land and buildings in its protection, but cannot meet the cost of all its obligations - four in every five of its historic houses run at a loss - and is always in need of financial support"

Whilst I appreciate your need for financial support, I rather think that spraying gallons of paint over NT land is not an appropriate way to secure this money. I would like to know how much the clean-up operation cost, and whether the large mass of paint on the hillside damaged the habitat of the animal population. It is my guess that downland insects do not cope well with being engulfed in paint, despite the fact it is chalk based.

You also say: "Additionally, we have many long term programmes in place to help educate people about the importance of the environment and of preserving our heritage for future generations". I should also be grateful if you could tell me when your governing body last attended one of these valuable programmes.

In conclusion, then, from the information available to me via your website, it would appear very much that you have flagrantly ignored your own policies and ethics in order to secure the princely sum of £2,000, which I find shocking. In addition to this, you have betrayed the trust of over 3 million of your members, and the trust of every other person with a vested interest in this country's heritage. I should also like to make you aware that this has caused a great deal of pain and anguish to many people who love the site dearly. Vandalism carried out by the pro-hunt lobby is one thing; but what are people to think when the very body instigated with protecting these sites is an accomplice to such cheap and despicable defilement of a national monument?

In light of all this, I think the only honourable action to be taken in order to try and put this episode right and restore faith with your members and the public, is for your Chairman, Mr. Charles Nunneley, and your Director General, Ms. Fiona Reynolds, to resign with immediate effect.

I look forward to your reply.

treaclechops Posted by treaclechops
4th September 2003ce

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