'‘The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty’ is a registered charity and is independent of Government. It is incorporated and has powers conferred on it through Parliament by the National Trust Acts 1907 It is governed by a board of trustees.
It was established for the purpose of promoting the permanent preservation for the benefit of the nation of lands, and buildings, of beauty or historic interest and lands for the preservation so far as practical of their natural aspect features and animal and plant life.
The National Trust’s ‘Strategy 2015’ sets the strategic aim of delivering public benefit through promoting and protecting beautiful places for ever, for everyone to enjoy. The Trust’s four priorities for achieving this purpose are:
- Recognising threats to culture and heritage
- Protecting the natural environment
- Investing in the nation's heritage
- Looking to the future and beyond our boundaries.
Properties and Membership
The National Trust owns or is responsible for managing:
- 775 miles of coastline
- 250,000 hectares of land, much of which is of outstanding natural beauty
- more than 300 historic houses and gardens, ancient monuments, nature reserves and parks.
Much of the land is held inalienably – meaning that it is held by the National Trust in perpetuity, for preservation for the benefit of the nation in accordance with the objects of the Trust. It may only be acquired from the Trust by authorities who hold compulsory purchase powers and even then, if the Trust objects, the compulsory purchase order must be confirmed by Parliament. The Trust may grant leases of such land.
The Planning System
The National Trust is not a required consultee for consents relating to heritage assets unless it owns them. From time to time, through, it will engage in environmental consents beyond its own properties in pursuance of its broader purposes.
English Heritage Trust
The English Heritage Trust was set up in March 2015 and manages the 'National Heritage Collections' under licence from the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England. There are over 400 buildings and monuments which make up the National Heritage Collection.