We are proud to have been a leading advocate for the protection, conservation and sustainability of Bermuda’s precious natural environment and cultural heritage for over 50 years.

If you’d like to draw a concern to our attention, or would like to learn more about the Trust’s position and actions on a certain issue, please contact our Head of Natural Heritage for environmental issues, and our Head of Cultural Heritage for issues such as threats to listed buildings or heritage sites.

If you wish to make a formal objection to any planning application, visit the Department of Planning’s Commenting on Planning Applications. For a step by step guide, click here.

Current Development Objections

Advocacy for Bermuda’s heritage has always been a part of BNT’s mandate. This can present problems, as it has led to BNT being seen by some as the organisation that says “No”. In fact, we weigh up very carefully the merits of any objection that we make and endeavour to take a balanced view that takes into account economic and social factors in addition to natural and cultural heritage concerns.

When it comes to Planning applications, we object to only a very small fraction of those submitted. Our decision to object is guided by whether the development abides by the Bermuda Plan 2018 and/or the regulations governing listed buildings, and whether the issue is deemed of national significance.

Event lawn for Bermudiana Beach Resort returns to the Table

Plans to convert a portion of a Southland’s national park into an events lawn for the Bermudiana Beach Resort are back on the table. BNT is concerned about the Change of Use Notice for a Portion of Southland Park submitted by the Department of Natural Resources in April 2024. Please see the article published in the Royal Gazette here.

BNT is objecting to this development based on the following negative impact on the public parkland:

  • 10,750 square feet of publicly accessible parkland will be lost and restricted to being used exclusively by the adjacent hotel and its guests.
  • Clearance of the parkland will result in the loss of woodland reserve habitat and native and endemic species in the area.
  • Drone photography shows a section of the parkland has been already cleared without permission and it is possible that some native and endemic flora was lost during the process.

The government is seeking Feedback from the public as required under Section 4 of the National Parks Act 1986.  The public consultation period will end on May 17th, 2024. Members of the public can find the change of use proposal and the comment form via the Department of Parks’ webpage at

Southampton Princess SDO (SDO0001-23)

BNT remains opposed to the revised Special Development Order for the Fairmont Southampton hotel site. Taken as a whole, the changes are minimal and the plans still show massive overdevelopment. This new proposal does not go anywhere near enough to satisfy the concerns of the Bermuda National Trust, nor do we think the thousands of Bermudians who protested the original plans will be satisfied that their voices have truly been heard.

If you wish to fight this development we recommend that you:

  • Write to Premier Burt ( and Minister Roban ( Hard copy letters should be sent to The Cabinet Office, 105 Front Street, Hamilton HM12
  • Write to your MP – click here for contact details.
  • Submit a formal objection to the SDO via Planning. Click here for a step by step guide on how to submit your objection to Planning.
  • Click here to download a sample objection letter. We suggest you add any points you personally feel are relevant to add weight to your submission.

Recent Articles:

Royal Gazette: Fairmont SDO changes just “tokenism” – National Trust

Royal Gazette: New Images Show Scale of Fairmont Southampton Plans

Royal Gazette: Column: Best Express Concerns About SDO

Royal Gazette: Point of order, Sir John

Royal Gazette: More than ‘just a building’

Royal Gazette: Still looking for the facts

Royal Gazette: Engineer faults Fairmont Southampton SDO

Southlands National Park – Events Lawn and Public Parking

The Bermuda Housing Corporation, which owns the Bermudiana Beach Resort on South Road in Warwick, has been seeking permission to build an events lawn on woodland to the west of the resort that is part of the Southlands Park. The proposal for the events lawn and car park was rejected more than once by the National Parks Commission and the application for development was opposed by the Bermuda National Trust, the Bermuda Audubon Society and BEST.

The Development Applications Board rejected the application for the events lawn and parking lot on 5 April 2023. That refusal was appealed to the Minister of the Environment. BNT wrote to the Minister proposing that the car park should be relocated on the brownfield site to the west of the Southlands beach entrance. The application for the car park was subsequently withdrawn, but we await the minister’s decision on the events lawn.  In the video below, Myles Darrell explains why we are fighting to save this valuable area of coastal woodland.

Devonshire Marsh

In March 2023, BNT submitted a joint appeal with BEST and the Bermuda Audubon Society against Planning’s decision to allow the building of three large warehouses, including five residential units, on the Island Construction site in Devonshire Marsh. Against the recommendation of an independent planning inspector, Environment Minister Walter Roban rejected our appeal and allowed the development to go ahead.  You can read our media statement on the subject here.

Planning Applications

The Bermuda National Trust involves itself in the planning process because we believe that it is easier to prevent environmental damage than correct it. Every new development or redevelopment must submit an application to the Planning Department as required by the Planning Act 1974. These submissions must adhere to the requirements of The Draft Bermuda Plan 2018.

The Trust collaborates with other local environmental advocacy groups to monitor applications to determine whether proposed developments are compatible with the zoning designation of the sites. Where appropriate, we submit objections and appeals as allowed for under the planning processes.

We encourage the whole community to join us in monitoring proposed developments via the Planning website, or just doing some research when you see a red sign at the roadside in your neighbourhood. Via the citizen self-service portal you can easily access all applications that are active in Bermuda. You can also have a more detailed look at the development area and its zoning. You can reach out to planning and they will email you every time a new application is submitted. We encourage you to submit an objection to the Planning Department when there appears to be an infraction of planning legislation or a development you feel will negatively impact the environment.

The Trust also writes letters of support if a project has been undertaken in a way that is especially sensitive to the environment and we highlight these projects through our annual awards.

We are happy to share our expertise with anyone who would like advice on the most environmentally sound methods of developing a property. We would encourage developers and owners to contact the Trust at the conceptual stages of a project to discuss ways to resolve matters that may conflict with the Development Plan and environmental issues that arise out of the proposal.

Climate Change

The special report, Global Warming of 1.5°C, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes it very clear that it is vital to hold the current global temperature increase below 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels. Keeping within this temperature frame will ensure that the world will suffer less negative impact on the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, and on resources, biodiversity, and food security.

The Trust is promoting ways to keep the future temperature increase less than 1.5°C. As the largest private owner of open space in Bermuda, we are stewards of woodland and mangroves habitats that capture carbon dioxide.  We offer  camps for children about climate change, outlining actions children and their families can take to reduce their carbon footprint. In 2008 we commissioned a report, The Impact of Climate Change on Bermuda, in partnership with Aspen. View the version formatted for children.

Our annual Auction & Jumble Sale is Bermuda’s biggest recycling event.  This event allows furniture and other items to be reused or upcycled, reducing the need for imports which contribute to transport emissions.

In 2020 we started our Tree Planting Campaign and with the help of volunteers have planted 500 trees in our nature reserves.  Trees not only absorb carbon dioxide, but also clean the air we breathe, help with drinking water purification, improve habitats and preserve biodiversity.

Tree Planting Campaign & Christmas Tree Campaign

Plant a Commemorative Tree – A Living Tribute: We provide opportunities for planting trees to commemorate an event or in memory of a specific person. This is a unique and green gift that has lasting impact. Please contact our Head of Natural Heritage for more information.

In 2020 we started our Tree Planting Campaign and with the help of volunteers have planted hundreds of trees in our nature reserves.  Trees not only absorb carbon dioxide, but also clean the air we breathe, help with drinking water purification, improve habitats and preserve biodiversity.

The tree planting campaign is closely linked to our corporate volunteering programme as often staff from companies is involved in tree planting during their corporate giving days. To find out more about how companies can connect with us please visit the Corporate Volunteering page.

In 2021 we launched our Sustainable Christmas Tree Campaign together with our lead sponsor Butterfield Bank.

Every year, thousands of Christmas trees are imported to Bermuda and then thrown away after the holidays. We wanted to make this holiday tradition more sustainable and help fight climate change by renting out 100 small potted Bermuda Cedar during the holiday season.

After Christmas the trees were returned for planting in our nature reserves. The location of the planted trees was mapped, and all trees from this campaign are listed in this map.

The programme was supported by Bermuda Gardens in 2021 and Bermuda Green Thumb in 2022.


As a remote oceanic island, Bermuda had a unique composition of flora and fauna prior to being settled in 1612.  Since then, a steady increase of the human population, with attendant development, and the arrival of predators and competitors, have changed the island forever. A myriad of newcomers arrived, some intentionally brought here and some as accidental imports. The original primary forest has shifted to a secondary forest dominated by invasive species. At the same time, over-exploitation has decimated species on land and water.

What we are doing to help

The Trust recognises the immense pressure Bermuda’s biodiversity faces from habitat loss due to land development, invasive species, and over exploitation. Understanding that environmental and cultural wellbeing is directly linked to biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, we work hard to protect natural habitats from development, to protect and restore the biodiversity on our own properties, and to raise awareness by educating about biodiversity and the importance of habitat and species protection.

Our nature reserves provide homes for threatened and reintroduced species. We engage the community by providing environmental volunteering opportunities focused on removal of invasive species and habitat restoration projects.  We also partner with other organisations in gene bank projects such as the reintroduction of the Bermuda land snail on Morgan’s Island.


Bermuda Biodiversity Country Study 2001

UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies Biodiversity Snapshot 2011

Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Protected Species Act 2003

Open Space

Open space is essential for the environmental and social health of Bermuda. It is a key part of the Trust’s mission to conserve precious open spaces for future generations of Bermudians.

While the Trust recognises that some development is essential, we call for it to proceed in the most environmentally sensitive manner possible and every effort should be made to rehabilitate and redevelop existing structures and brownfield sites.

Altogether, during its 50 years of existence, the Trust has inherited or acquired 33 undeveloped properties totalling 240 acres. This includes some of the largest and most spectacular wetlands and woodlands in Bermuda, such as Spittal Pond and Paget Marsh. Since 2003, in the face of ever-increasing development, the Trust has partnered with the Bermuda Audubon Society in the  ‘Buy Back Bermuda’ initiative, to purchase and conserve open space that is under threat of development.

Invasive Species

Invasive species are introduced organisms that are not native to Bermuda and that are changing or have altered the island’s environment in a negative way. Prime examples are  Balloon Vine (pictured on the left), Brazil Pepper, Kiskadees, Sparrows, Oyster Shell Scale and Lionfish. Some of them have been introduced accidently (rats), others were brought in as pest control (Kiskadees, Sparrows, Marine Toads), as erosion control (Casuarina), as pets (Red-eared Slider Terrapin) or as ornamental garden plants (Morning Glory, Umbrella Tree).

Our fragile island ecosystem is extremely sensitive to the alteration inflicted by these newcomers which have easily adapted to the island and threaten our biodiversity. Most of them reproduce quickly and out-compete or predate on the original flora and fauna to the point that some native species have even become extinct, such as the Bermuda Cicada which was eradicated by the Kiskadee.

Others have changed the island landscape forever. The Cedar blight in the 1940s and 1950s was caused by two insect species hiding among the branches of introduced ornamental trees. As the insects spread across the island, 90% of the Bermuda cedar forest was destroyed and this resulted in widespread alteration of the original forest by fast growing invasive trees and shrubs.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) maintains a list of the top 100 worst invasive species in the world. Of these top 100, 23 are found in Bermuda. They include Water Hyacinth, Brazil Pepper, Kudzu, Wedelia, Cane Toad, Starling, Red-eared Slider Terrapin, domestic cat, mouse, rat and several species of ants.

The Trust recognises the threat these species are posing, and our environmental conservation team is constantly monitoring invasive species in our open spaces. We work hard to cull out invasive species and reintroduce threatened native and endemic flora and fauna to our nature reserves. We also raise awareness about this issue through our environmental education and volunteering programmes. We organise invasive plant removal sessions and native tree and shrub planting initiatives and collaborate with other organisations to control pest species.

The Trust is also a member of the Bermuda Lionfish Task Force and supports the lionfish population control and education programme.


Guide to Indigenous and Invasive Plants

The Problem with Cow Cane & Napier Grass

The Problem with Cattail in Bermuda

Garden & Woodland Management