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Advisory Forum Elections 2017 Candidate Information

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Richard Birch CEcol MCIEEM 

I am an ecologist with 17 years’ experience in the private sector.  Before that I worked in agriculture, amenity horticulture and occupational therapy, and have qualifications in all three.  I have lived and worked in North Wales since 2003, firstly as an independent botanist and then as ecologist.  I’ve been a member of CIEEM since 2004.

There may be other members of CIEEM in this part of the world, but that would be as much from necessity as from any sense of solidarity.  It is not writ large, and our representations is almost exclusively Cardiff-based.

I am driven to respond to a position on the Advisory Forum because of the way CIEEM is perceived among ecologists I meet. As one very respected colleague put it: “I don’t think highly of it, but it is our Chartered Institute and it’s all we’ve got”.

In my time as a member of the Advisory forum I would consider the following issues: -

  • I would like to see In Practice being picked up, read and commented on by a Welsh farmer (and consequently to be suitable for such an aim)
  • I would like to carry my membership proudly into schools as part of my STEM work, and be able to talk about ecology being taken seriously by employers, and there being a future for the brightest and most dedicated ecologists
  • I would like to bridge the divide between the public and private sectors that still exists, and stop the definition of private sector ecologists as someone who just does it for the money.  That would mean a change of attitude from both sides, best summed up by the word ‘engagement’

And as if that’s not enough, I will take every opportunity to press for a less awful acronym than CIEEM!


Emma Hatchett MCIEEM

I am a consultant ecologist with 15 years professional experience. Whilst this experience is wide and varied I have developed a particular specialism in bat surveying and assessment. Currently, I am Regional Director for ecology in the Midlands and North of England at WSP, based in Birmingham. Project wise, I am very much involved in the detailed design of ecological mitigation for HS2.

I am a passionate believer in helping early career ecologists. My degree course included a year out in ecological consultancy and I consider work placements as the best opportunity that can be offered to prospective ecologists at the start of their career. I am also keen to support the development of apprenticeships in the ecological and environmental management profession.   

With the majority of the ecological work that I undertake focussing around bats, I have held a number of EPS mitigation licenses associated with this group and as a result also hold a NE LICL. I would like to use this experience to assist in further research with NE and BCT in the development and monitoring of new EPS licensing and mitigation tracking for bats. The development of a landscape-wide approach to protected species mitigation is something that has been of high importance with the development of mitigation for the delivery of HS2 Phase 1.

Other aspects I would like to assist with are the development of Biodiversity metrics for the development and implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain Policy at local authority level nationwide, which is something that WSP, as a business, is progressing; together with assisting in positive outcomes for biodiversity through the on-going discussions with the national government, which is well underway.

I feel that I offer a good level of experience for this role and could add value to the advisory forum through my inputs.


Matthew Heydon MCIEEM

The ecological profession has come a long way in the 26 years since IEEM was founded but still hasn’t achieved the public recognition enjoyed by establish professions like law or medicine. I offer skills and experience to the Advisory Forum that I believe can help CIEEM provide the leadership needed to achieve this goal.

With nearly 20 years’ experience working within government on wildlife policy and regulation I can bring a different perspective to the Forum complimenting that of the wider membership. I am well-placed to advise on the challenges and opportunities provided by the changing role of government in public life and the implications for the environment of our evolving relationship with Europe and the rest of the world.

The outcomes that I’d hope to help CIEEM achieve are:

  • Wider public recognition of ecological consultancy as a profession that is trusted to deliver high quality advice;
  • A ‘licence to operate’ that affords ecologists the degree freedom and responsibility enjoyed by well-established professions, and
  • A clear path and access to the right training etc for anyone seeking a career as a professional ecologist.

My own career began in research, specialising on wildlife conflicts in the UK (fox hunting) and tropics (logging), before joining the Farming and Rural Conservation Agency in 1998 as a wildlife adviser. I am currently Natural England’s principal specialist for species protection. I have been closely involved in reforms of wildlife legislation and species licensing since the early 2000’s; creating, for example, the ‘class licence’ as a legal mechanism to give ‘trusted status’ to licensees with skills and experience as the first step towards a wider ‘licence to operate’.

I am also involved in Natural England’s work to revise the Defra biodiversity ‘offsetting’ metric and to define the conservation status of UK species and habitats.


David Wells CEnv MCIEEM

I have been a professional ecologist since 1995, an IEEM/CIEEM member since 1997 and an ecological consultant since 2000, Formerly an employee of a large multi-disciplinary consultancy, since 2014 I have been codirector of a small consultancy based in Gloucestershire.

My experience allows me to wear several different 'hats'. I have always been interested in wildlife; I worked at a biological records centre post-graduation then spent four years advising on ecology for English Heritage, before moving into consultancy. I therefore have experience as a volunteer, records centre employee, government agency employee and consultant. I continue to be involved in amateur ecology work such as county bat and mammal groups, and through attempting to manage our small smallholding for conservation gain.

I am not new to involvement in CIEEM, having been on MAC (latterly as vice-chair) for the past ten years. I would like to continue 'giving back' something to the institute if possible, such as on the Advisory Forum.

Any consideration of outcomes over the next three years cannot ignore the implications, and opportunities, of Brexit. CIEEM is well placed to influence these discussions, having the gravitas of a Chartered Institute rather than being part of the 'green lobby' - even if many of our members' concerns are similar to theirs.

As an institute representing ecologists across the spectrum from academic researchers to environmental management practitioners, CIEEM is also well placed to encourage decision-makers to ensure emerging policies are based on sound science (unlike e.g. badgers, neonicotinoids).

As a former member of MAC my other aspiration would be for CIEEM to gain more environmental managers (though academics, students and government agency employees are still also underrepresentedl). Apart from benefits of a larger membership, our ability to influence will be undermined if we are (still) perceived as a consultants' club.



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