The National Trust could lose £200m of income this year because of the coronavirus outbreak, its director general has warned.
In a column for the Telegraph newspaper over the weekend, Hilary McGrady said the charity had to make some “incredibly difficult decisions to pause important conservation programmes to clean rivers, prevent upland flooding and improve soil”.
The trust, which had an income of £634.3m in the year to the end of February 2019, announced last month that it planned to furlough about 11,200 staff – 80 per cent of its workforce – because of the pandemic.
The trust has closed all of its properties, including shops and cafés, and its parks and gardens, which account for much of the charity’s annual income.
In her article, McGrady urged the government to provide “urgent, practical support” to conservation charities because their existence was being threatened by the effects of the virus.
“The government has a 25-year plan to improve the environment within a generation, but its chances of delivering this depend on the support of conservation charities, green businesses and social enterprises,” said McGrady.
“A sharp drop in income is now threatening the very existence of many of those that look after nature sites and create natural solutions to climate change around the country.
"They are in need of urgent, practical support.
“In the face of what could amount to around £200m of lost income this year for the National Trust alone, we’ve had to make some incredibly difficult decisions to pause important conservation programmes to clean rivers, prevent upland flooding and improve soil. Our tree-planting schemes must not go the same way.”