Wildlife trusts’ incomes

Here are the most recent published annual incomes of most of the local, county, regional or national Wildlife Trusts.


Avon Wildlife Trust £2.3m

Beds, Cambs & Northants Wildlife Trust £4.5m

Berks, Bucks and Oxon & Wildlife Trust  £5.4m

Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust £0.8m

Brecknock Wildlife Trust  £0.2m

Cheshire Wildlife Trust  £1.8m

Cumbria Wildlife Trust  £3.7m

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust £1.9m

Devon Wildlife Trust  £3.9m

Dorset Wildlife Trust  £3.7m

Durham Wildlife Trust  £1.3m

Essex Wildlife Trust  £9.5m

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust £2.3m

Gwent Wildlife Trust  £1m

Hants & IOW Wildlife Trust  £3.8m

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust  £2.1m

Herts & Middx Wildlife Trust  £1.8m

Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust £0.4m

Kent Wildlife Trust £4.4m

Lancashire Wildlife Trust £4.0m

Leics and Rutland Wildlife Trust £3.0m

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust  £2.6m

London Wildlife Trust £3.2m

Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust  £0.6m

Norfolk Wildlife Trust  £5.7m

North Wales wildlife Trust  £1.2m

Northumberland Wildlife Trust  £2.7m

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust  £3.0m

Radnorshire Wildlife Trust  £0.3m

Scottish Wildlife Trust  £4.4m

Sheffield Wildlife Trust  £1.1m

Shropshire Wildlife Trust  £1.8m

Somerset Wildlife Trust   £2.8m

South & West Wales Wildlife Trust  £2.2m

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust  £2.7m

Suffolk Wildlife Trust  £3.9m

Surrey Wildlife Trust  £6.1m

Sussex Wildlife Trust  £4.6m

Tees Valley Wildlife Trust  £0.5m

Ulster Wildlife Trust £1.8m

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust £6.4m

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust  £3.2m

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust  £2.0m

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust  £5.4m



Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (the UK body) £11.8m




Interesting? I’ll come back to this when less distracted by horse racing.

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26 Replies to “Wildlife trusts’ incomes”

  1. I am surprised that my local wildlife trust, the Essex Wildlife Trust, gets almost £10m. The Scottish Wildlife Trust gets less than half of that. Extraordinary.

    It would be interesting to compare the relative size of each jurisdiction too, Mark.

  2. That looks like just short of £400 million going to wildlife trusts, national wildlife charities per year. That's more than the "Value of Shooting"s £250 million estimated spend on conservation.
    I wonder what the "Value of Nature/Conservation" is?
    Accommodation, Restaurants, Transport, Fuel, Clothing, Optics, Books, Seed, Trees, Pest control etc.

    How many people (FTE of course) are employed? (Can't count volunteers and their mental and physical health benefits. Too much like environmental services of upland bogs and moors)

  3. Total income of the Wildlife Trusts, collectively, is nearly 142 million, exceeding the income of every other organisation in your list of national conservation groups. I am not sure their impact quite reflects that. Admittedly, the devolved nature of the trusts makes a comparison with, say, the RSPB not entirely fair but I would say that with that much income (and therefore, presumably, members) behind them the trusts ought to be rather more vociferous and higher profile than they seem to be.

  4. So £130m split between 44 organisations, plus 11.8 for Royal Society.

    The question is, could that be put to better use if it was one body or is it better that it's spread out locally? (OK two questions).

    More questions:

    A lot of duplicated positions, particularly CEO & high management. Is that good or bad?

    What is the total membership number? Imagine the clout of one large NGO.

    Issues like Driven Grouse Shooting a bit of a touchy subject in the main because I understand there are many different stances within the Trusts. On a plus point is there will be many more ideas and approaches to habitat management and successes can then be shared. It would be interesting to hear from people who have worked for more than one trust and whether there are differences, and if that's a problem or a bonus.

    Don't get me wrong, the Wildlife trusts do great work & I'm sure there is collaboration. I don't know the answer to my own questions here but it's an interesting discussion.

    1. This is something I find quite interesting. I was once asked in an interview what one thing would I do to change UK nature conservation and my response was something to the effect of "merge all the NGOs".

      I appreciate that brand distinctions help with fundraising sometimes, and I do think that the devolved nature of the trusts in particular can have its advantages but I'd personally rather have a bigger lobby group which pools its resources. You could adopt an industrial model with a Unilever style behind the scenes parent brand (lets say "UK Conservation" as a terrible and bland example) and then keep all the other brands in play but have them all operate within the same system.

      Where this would seem particularly useful is in the field of "landscape scale" conservation. For those who don't know this is all about recognising that nature reserves can't be the only wildlife habitat in the country, and about improving connectivity between our best places. This would seem like it might be easier in a merged body...

      That said, loads of partnership work and cooperation goes on anyway so maybe my idea is pointless, it just seems more efficient to me.

  5. I expect this is quite a good comparison although an average over 5 yrs might be safer, in case of any exceptional grants, contracts or legacies. Seems to correspond quite well to area (cf Norfolk vs Brecknock or Radnor). I hope they root as many functions as they can through RSWT to maximise money available for conservation, otherwise they'll be hopelessly in-efficient compared to something like RSPB. The local link is immensely valuable though: reinforces people's value of their place.

  6. Thanks Mark. In some ways, this is very encouraging. As other commenters have noted, the total for wildlife trusts is approx £142m. If you add RSPB total income/revenue (£132m) and National Trust (£494m), we're up to nearly £800m, and there are plenty of other wildlife charities that would swell that figure to over £1 Bn pa.
    Now consider the income/revenue from the two top (and many would say bloated sports- F1 and Football Premier League), which would be approaching £10 Bn pa.
    The battle may not just be with landowners, but with the sponsors etc of these sports for a larger share of that cake.

  7. Fascinating Mark. Where's the National Trust and NTS in the mix?

    The devil as always is in the detail.

    I suspect a significant amount of the WTs income is from single farm payment and agri-environment schemes, and spent on staff managing their nature reserves.

    What will they do after Brexit?

  8. Just a word of warning about how all these numbers (WTs and others) may be perceived by others. Many people I meet, politicians especially but not just them, see the headline figures and say "They're very rich, they don't need any more money".

    Actually having a £137m "income" just means you have to raise £137m every year to stand still - it doesn't mean that there's suddenly a money tree in the office garden that grows that amount effortlessly every spring. Nor does it reflect on-going liabilities and responsibilities that mean that the uncommitted revenue will be very very much less, perhaps even a net negative. Think of the £billions of income the NHS gets every year; no-one claims they're rolling in it just because their budgets have lots of noughts at the end. Every penny spent still has to be raised somehow.

    So please talk about "turnover", or "the amount needed to keep delivering" etc - not just "income".

  9. Yes, I noticed NT was missing. Obviously, there's the problem that most of its money goes on buildings, but its also worth reflecting on how well the 'megalith' single conservation body would work - NT is massive - 3rd biggest landowner in England. 3rd biggest SSSI manager and approaching invisibility as a leader in nature conservation.

  10. What most people seem to forget is that charities only exist because they do a job which our governments wont do....

    1. I have known people who refuse on principle to donate to charities for exactly that reason. It's an argument that has some merit - if volunteers assist the homeless, for example, it allows the government to wriggle out of its own obligation to do it. I think that it is important that we challenge governments to do the job they are supposed to do whether it be providing care for the sick and elderly or properly investigating the disappearance of nesting hen harriers (to take but two examples) and we should be vigilant against them off-loading more and more of the basic functions of government onto the voluntary sector.

      Having said this, we have to be realistic and recognize that the world we live in is far from ideal and this means that voluntary bodies do have to pick up the jobs the government wont do or those jobs just wont get done. The conservation world is no exception to this. I would add, though, that even if we had a government with less slopey shoulders when it comes to bearing its responsibilities to the natural world it would still be desirable to have a voluntary sector. Charities are not subject to the dictates of electoral arithmetic and thus are not obliged to change course every few years and not being subject to election allows them to do things that the readership of the Daily Mail is either indifferent (looking after the horrid ground weaver, say) or hostile to. The independence of the charitable sector also means that - within the constraints imposed by the law- they can challenge and hold government to account in a way that is not possible for the government's own agencies.

  11. All work together / merge, it's akin to expecting all the political parties to work together for the benefit of the many not the few?

    Nice idea in principle but having observed four decades of more organisations being created not less then whilst remaining an agnostic I am minded that it's a long way off still? Where should our energies be focused?

    I could offer plenty of case studies where it was hoped that the 'big guys' would step up to the mark .... but reality is sadly another story. Conversely I'm sure there's a case to be made and I'm sure there are positive examples of mergers.

    One interesting example of failure IMHO of the 'usual suspects' is the BDGS which relied on others to lead? Ezra, perhaps you could elucidate how this one mega organisation might have dealt with this complex issue? Particularly with patronage, funding sensitivities, politics etc.

    1. The short answer? I don't know but my guess is with extreme difficulty.

      Longer answer, I'm not an expert, and I absolutely wouldn't claim to have the answer to how any of this would work in practice. That said, here is my (probably wholly unrealistic) thoughts on some of those issues.

      Patronage is a very tricky issue and if I were setting up a new conservation super-body I might well avoid getting a royal patron for that very issue. Funding is an interesting one, charities are funded both through members and legacies, as well as by funding bodies. In this hypothetical super-body you might have had sufficient membership/legacy funding that you wouldn't need to resort to external funders for any campaigning on driven grouse shooting, and thus could more or less sidestep the issue (yes I know that it unfortunately isn't that simple, as I said, I don't actually have the answers). As far as politics is concerned, historically bigger bodies/movements have tended to have greater political power than smaller ones. A movement of one million will normally trump the voice of a single individual - though of course there are many exceptions to this.

      All these are very obviously challenging issues to any conservation body, but I will leave you with two final thoughts:

      1) Would this super-body be worse in your eyes than 'usual suspects' at dealing with issues in driven grouse shooting? If not then perhaps other benefits would make it worthwhile regardless.

      2) I know that this is not a massively popular thing to say but... perhaps banning driven grouse shooting is currently an untenable position to hold for any conservation organisation that wants to be effective on a national stage. Regardless of your opinion, or mine, or any individual's for that matter, licencing might actually be the best thing a large NGO is able to lobby for at the moment, and as I said above larger lobby groups tend to work better than small ones. (All of this of course is not to say that I think the BDGS lobby is small, just perhaps smaller than the total combined membership and lobbying power of the NGOs).

      Once again I would also like to say that with more and more partnership working taking place at all levels from very local issues to things like the State of Nature report my idea may be irrelevant. I am also more than happy to accept that I may well just be wrong - again I am no expert. I hope though that this at least somewhat answers your question.

      1. "licencing might actually be the best thing a large NGO is able to lobby for at the moment,"

        That argument would carry a lot more weight if RSPB (or A N Other) actually WAS lobbying for it. Instead we hear... nothing.

        NB not directed at Ezra, just a wider observation!

  12. Hi Mark

    A quick clarification on the national Wildlife Trust figure here.

    The most accurate figure to use for Wildlife Trust 2015-16 income nationally (at a UK-level) is £4.1m as this doesn't include income for the separate Grants Unit hosted in our UK office. This unit redistributes Landfill and Lottery funds to community and conservation projects which are mostly not Wildlife Trust projects, and it accounts for more than half of the national income figure.

    The back page of our Annual Review has a graphic which shows this (see asterisk): http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/sites/default/files/final_pdf.pdf

    If you need any further info just let me know.

    All best, Adam Cormack (Wildlife Trusts)

        1. ed -no you haven't. And I haven't forgotten it - just not had time to do it justice yet. I will get back to it.


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