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Fossil Free London Targets National Trust at Bodiam Castle

Activists Alleged Barclays' Funding of Fossil Fuels and Military Operations

Activists from Fossil Free London staged a bold protest at Bodiam Castle, challenging the National Trust’s financial relationship with Barclays Bank, which they allege funds both fossil fuels and military operations.

The 14th-century Bodiam Castle served as the backdrop for Fossil Free London’s message to the National Trust. The group accused the National Trust of failing its mission to protect nature and heritage by maintaining ties with Barclays. In a statement directed at the organization, Fossil Free London declared: “@nationaltrust, as self-described guardians of nature and heritage, you are failing in your mission to protect it as long as you keep banking on Barclays – funders of bombs and big oil.”

Fossil Free London alleged that Barclays is Europe’s largest financier of fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement in 2016, reportedly providing $10 billion annually to companies like Shell amidst escalating climate concerns. “Barclays is Europe’s worst funder of fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement in 2016,” the group claimed, emphasising the bank’s significant role in perpetuating environmental damage.

The protest also highlighted Barclays’ financial involvement with Israeli military companies. According to Fossil Free London, Barclays holds over £2 billion in shares from these companies, which they allege are used in operations that have led to the deaths of Palestinian families. “This figure has RISEN by 55% since 2021 as they ramped up their bankrolling of genocide,” the group stated, calling for a reassessment of the National Trust’s banking affiliations.

Fossil Free London’s demonstration at Bodiam Castle aimed to draw attention to the ethical implications of the National Trust’s financial partnerships. The activists urged the organization to reconsider its relationship with Barclays to better align with its mission of preserving nature and heritage.

The National Trust responded, stating it “fully understands the urgency needed” to find solutions to the climate crisis. A spokeswoman added, “We welcomed Barclays’ announcement that they will stop direct financing to clients engaged in oil and gas expansion, and that they will require their clients in the energy sector to prepare climate transition plans. It is critically important that we continue to engage with Barclays and the banking sector to do more and faster to reduce financed emissions.”

She continued, “We respect people’s right to demonstrate peacefully and express their views, provided they are respectful and do not block access to our places or obstruct our conservation work.”

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