Here’s an interesting story, just published in the Guardian.
A Director of Land Securities, the FTSE 100 company who are the developers behind the planned destruction of Lodge Hill SSSI, was about to be appointed as a Trustee of London Wildlife Trust. Marc Cadwaladr had been about to be brought onto the LWT Trustee Board for his “fantastic finance skills along with experience with one of London’s largest property developers”. Financial skills, and perhaps his numerous contacts in the City, who could provide philanthropic support for the charity.
At the last minute he has withdrawn from the appointment saying “it doesn’t feel right to let my name go forward for election as a trustee of the London Wildlife Trust.”
Given that Medway approved planning permission for Lodge Hill SSSI to be destroyed by Land Securities on the 5th September, it does make one wonder why he felt that it was right to become a Trustee of a wildlife charity at that point, and indeed for the preceding period when Land Securities had been planning the destruction of Lodge Hill (about 5 years.)
The article emphasises the fact that Charity Trustees act as individuals and should not seek to influence the work of the Charity to benefit their business interests, and I am sure that Mr Cadwaladr would not have had the slightest intention of doing that.
But there is another prospect: that Land Securities would have benefited from one of their Directors being a Trustee of a prominent wildlife charity. Perhaps it might have put them in a different, more positive light when appearing at a Public Inquiry, defending their “mitigation” proposals for Lodge Hill, for example: or Biodiversity Offsetting as it is also known. Mitigation proposals which include moving Lodge Hill’s nightingales to an SPA salt marsh in Essex, and moving over 30ha of nationally important scrub/grassland mosaic to an adjacent farm.