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National Trust Council election candidates

Members of the National Trust have been invited to elect up to six candidates for the Council ahead of the AGM on 21st October.

The main responsibilities of the council are to appoint the Trust’s Chair and members of the Board of Trustees (the NT governing body) and to hold them to account.


The candidates that have been put forward for election to the National Trust council have given their views on a number of questions, including the members’ resolution for the cessation of trail-hunting, exempt hunting and hound exercise. The responses to all of these questions can be found here.

For those interested in the members’ resolution regarding the future of trail-hunting on National Trust land, we have picked out the candidates’ responses which you will find below. We have highlighted some areas that may be of interest.

It is worth noting that the Board recently recommended that members of the NT should vote AGAINST the members resolution, thus voting to save legal trail-hunting on the land managed by the charity.

You will see that the candidates towards the top of this list indicate most strongly that they are supporting the Board’s recommendation and are in favour of the continuation of legal trail-hunting under the licensing system. Some of the other candidates’ responses are slightly ambiguous, with a number of others clearly stating they are not in favour.

Please note that your selections – along with your vote on the members’ resolution – must be received before 11:59pm on 13th October, either online or by post. Members can vote for up to six candidates of their own choice in the Council elections. 

    1. Elizabeth Staples, Staffordshire
      Having read the proposed resolution, I am not in favour of the members’ resolution. The Board I feel has given good in-depth reasons for their recommendations which I agree with.
    2. Inga Grimsey, Suffolk
      The National Trust has a wide range of members and supporters.  It has a policy of issuing licenses for certain activities. This ensures that access is allowed to as many of its supporters as possible to enjoy the land in the way they choose, provided the use does not impact on the Trust’s conservation work and the wider environment.
    3. Caroline Jarrold, Norfolk
      I believe that the additional measures which the National Trust is implementing to ensure that trail hunting is carried out within the law on its land are sensible and can be effective. The National Trust should not be preventing activities which are legal.
    4. Bella Mezger, London
      My view on trail hunting is that the revised process that the Trust is putting in place to address many of the concerns raised, will help to ensure that standards are met.I believe that providing access to the fullest range of supporters is key to the Trust’s purpose, and that a blanket ban would not encourage this.
    5. Caroline Kay, Wiltshire
      Cessation of trail hunting – the new licensing arrangements seem to me to ensure that the law is upheld on Trust property, illegal hunting resulting in a kill is prevented and a lawful pursuit which some people enjoy is given the opportunity to continue.
    6. Raymond Williams, Buckinghamshire
      If people want to practice hunting of any kind, can they not do it somewhere else? Providing it is legal practice sport, Clubs should use other facilities.
      Please note: The Countryside Alliance has subsequently been advised by Mr Williams that his reference to “somewhere else” meant that he didn’t believe hunting should take place within the vicinity of Stonehenge and that he wanted Stonehenge to stand alone in its majesty for all to admire. Mr Williams told the Alliance: “I am not against hunting provided it is legal hunting. If hunting is ok with the National Trust and legal, then so be it.”
    7. Duncan Mackay, Berkshire
      Trail hunting requires a transparent solution. The Trust’s management of trail hunting must be firm and fair but with penalties. Only Parliament bans things and trail hunting is not yet illegal. Octavia Hill, ironically, once declared that the Trust “by no means plan to give access to the tramp, the London rough, the noisy beanfeaster, or the shouting crowds of children…”. Beans and noisy children are still available at many Trust properties but more contentious practices must be scrutinised, with licence withdrawal the penalty for transgressions.
    8. Grevel Lindop, Manchester
      Trail hunting: this should be left to the management of individual Trust properties. The environmental, ecological and social issues vary from place to place and are far too complex to be solved by a blanket resolution from members. So against the resolution.
    9. Christopher Catling, Wales
      I know nothing about hunting. If elected to the NT Council, I will look for advice from those who know more about this issue, but in general I will be prepared to vote for whatever is best for wildlife.
    10. Guy Trehane, Dorset
      Broadly in agreement with the Trust’s position however I look forward to the AGM debate.
    11. Sarah Green, Northumberland
      As the Trust’s mission is to “ensure its special places are enjoyed by everyone”, it is difficult to ban any group who represent a legitimate interest (regardless of my personal view on trail hunting). Trail hunting should be regulated through licensing agreements and any breaches should result in action from the Trust. If there are multiple issues with the trail hunting community the licensing of this activity should be reconsidered.
    12. Steve Anderson, West Midlands
      In 2016 The Trust kicked football and cricket teams off the Shugborough estate explaining (badly) that it wasn’t there to provide public amenity. I think that set a precedent which on the grounds of equality must apply to trail hunting as well.  Trail hunting can still continue without access to Trust land, although I appreciate some hunts will be more inconvenienced than others, and the people who trail hunt will still be welcome at Trust properties, just as long as they don’t bring a pack of hounds. I will therefore be supporting the members’ resolution.
    13. Virginia Llado-Buisan, Oxford
      On the resolution about the cessation of trail hunting, exempt hunting and hound exercise, the Trust has reviewed their regulations and is committed to finding a balance between inclusion of the fullest range of land users and protecting the environment. Whilst this might bring some improvements, I am personally not confident that the measures proposed will solve the issue of illegal hunting.
    14. Leigh McManus, Leicestershire
      Trail Hunting: I am opposed to all hunting that is harmful to animals or the environment, it is after all illegal. The Trust is making some improvements to the way trail hunting is licensed and monitored and a closer relationship with the National Wildlife Crime Unit who are best placed to deal with this issue should bring the required results.
    15. Emma Mee, Cambridge
      As evidence suggests foxhunting is still occurring, then I support the cessation of trail hunting. Although I respect the culture and history of a traditional pastime, in 2017 it is time to relegate it to the history books. With a growing population and all the pressures already identified, we simply do not have the wild spaces to provide habitats for rural foxes, nor the space for it to go unnoticed from a disapproving society.  
    16. Michael Tavener, West Midlands
      In respect of Trail Hunting, I do not believe that the inherent risk that it poses to wildlife as well as the potential reputational damage it could have on the Trust is justifiable and is disproportionate to any perceived benefit that it may bring.
    17. Edel Trainor, Northern Ireland
      I have never been a supporter of hunting as a sport. I accept the majority of hunts do act within the law and do not actively pursue live prey but accidents can and do happen and on occasion an animal is injured or killed by the hunt. I believe that as a conservation charity the Trust should exclude any form of hunting from their lands. 
    18. Georgina Ramkoleea, Surrey
      There are times when brands need to make tough decisions and sometimes that means upsetting people.  If the NT is about conservation and if trail hunting is shown to cause death to wildlife, then it should be banned. The government can still be the judge of the nationwide decision. It might upset a few people right now, but they’ll learn to live with it.

Please note: Since the candidates’ responses to the members’ resolutions were published, we have been contacted by this candidate. Georgina has advised us that she has withdrawn from the election process after being misquoted following an administrative error with the publication of her response. The National Trust have confirmed that Georgina has withdrawn. Georgina has given this statement to the CA: “There are many issues that affect wildlife and this is perhaps not the biggest threat. However this has put the NT’s core values in the spotlight and I feel they will need to make a tough decision here.”
19. Joff Whitten, Suffolk

 I love dogs and I love the countryside but I don’t see hunting in any form as something positive for the modern world. Find another way of exercising your horse, or a better way of socialising on the weekend. We don’t, for example, have mock bear-baiting in an attempt to recreate a particular form of heritage. Yes livelihoods have had to change and freedom of choice is important but trail hunting often ‘accidentally’ becomes real hunting and frankly the practice is shameful.



If members have any queries regarding the Council elections, please contact us via [email protected]

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