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North West England Committee Profiles

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Convenor Paul Rooney
Vice Convenor Andrew Whitfield
Treasurer Tom Smith
Secretary Vacant
Committee members Katherine Allen, Alun Evans, Caroline Maghanga, Oonagh Nelson, Philip Putwain, Richard Roe, Lizz Willott, Gemma Wren


Paul Rooney CEnv MCIEEM

I am an environmental geographer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Liverpool Hope University where I am the Deputy Head of Department. I founded the CIEEM North West England Section committee (then IEEM!) as a Shadow Section in 2004, and was the first Section Convenor. I am an expert in coastal sand dunes and established the ‘Sand Dune and Shingle Network’ in 2006. The aim of the Network is to conserve sand dunes and shingle as dynamic landscapes. In an extension to the UK focus of Sand Dune and Shingle Network, I am now driving the development of the European Dune Network in association with the EUCC-Coastal and Marine Union.

At Liverpool Hope University I am the Award Director for the MSc in Ecology and Environmental Management. My teaching is mostly at postgraduate level and includes: habitat management, vegetation survey techniques, environmental impact assessment, the principles of ecology and environmental management, environmental resource management, sustainability, and coastal management, especially coastal dunes.

I am a Chartered Environmentalist, a full member of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, a Chartered Geographer through the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I hold survey and research licences for protected species including the Sand Lizard, Natterjack Toad, Bats and Great Crested Newt.

Before joining Liverpool Hope I was the Project Officer for the Sefton Coast LIFE Project (a conservation strategy for the sand dunes of the Sefton Coast, North West England). This was an EU co-financed nature conservation project, with the partners English Nature, the National Trust and Sefton Council. The project was operational between 1995 and 1999. Previous to this I managed a series of coastal dune nature reserves with the award winning Sefton Coast Management Scheme.


Vice Convenor
Andy Whitfield MCIEEM

I am an independent Consultant Ecologist, and a part-time PhD researcher. I was a founder member of IEEM (now CIEEM) back in 1992 as I believed in the need for our profession to be perceived as equal with other professions, maintain ecological principles, set standards and share knowledge, experience and perspectives. 

I became more heavily involved with the North West Section when I moved back to the area 9 years ago and put down roots.  Getting involved and serving on the Committee has been a great learning experience for me and a chance to contribute towards my original aims for joining in a proactive way.  In doing so I have developed a regard and appreciation for those who have gone before and continue to provide on-going support. I have been motivated by a desire to become more involved in the development of our profession and establishing it as a significant voice in policy and development.


Tom Smith CEnv MCIEEM

An ecologist with over 14 years professional experience. I have a BSc in Applied Ecology, PDip in Ecology and Environmental Management and am a Chartered Environmentalist. I have previous experience of committee membership and am currently also Treasurer of the Overseas Territories Special Interest Group. I therefore have experience in assisting with organising events (conferences/technical seminars) and have also written the conference reviews for In Practice after the events.






Committee Member
Katherine Allen MCIEEM

I am a Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the University of Liverpool, working on how we can use models of habitat connectivity to prioritise restoration work and inform landscape-scale conservation. I work with both researchers and practitioners to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, data and good practice and increase the impact of academic research. I am particularly interested in evidence based conservation and communication between science, policy makers and society. I began my journey as an ecologist with a field-based PhD study of the threatened damselfly Ischnura pumilio. Since then I have worked on biodiversity and carbon storage in moorlands exposed to prescribed fire, and community composition in coral reefs. I have been a CIEEM member since I was a student and I enjoy attending events with practicing ecologists and the opportunity for knowledge exchange that brings. I particularly love field meetings as, despite my desk job, I remain a field ecologist at heart!


Committee Member
Alun Evans MCIEEM

Alun has worked in Cheshire since 2000, initially involved in the development of an EU funded ecological network demonstration project followed by a successful application for a HLF funded Landscape Partnership Scheme. He has been a member of CIEEM for over 11 years and part of the North West committee for six years.

He has over 15 years experience of working in natural environment departments of local government, providing specialist ecological input into both development management and policy formulation, including acting as an expert witness in a public inquiry for a major windfarm development.

In his current role Alun leads a team of technical specialists within Cheshire West and Chester Council responsible for providing an advisory service to other council services across a range of disciplines including arboriculture, building conservation, landscape, ecology, and green infrastructure. Increasingly the team is seeking fee earning opportunities outside of the authority.

He has previously worked for the Field Studies Council and the then Farming & Rural Conservation Agency in South East England on the ‘original’ Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

Spare time is spent managing 100 acres of farmland under various Welsh Government agri-environment schemes, including part of a SSSI with a small flock of Hebridean sheep and a couple of ponies. Voluntary survey work has included assisting in monitoring programmes for black grouse, lesser horseshoe bats and great crested newts.


Committee Member
Caroline Maghanga MCIEEM

Caroline has a BSc in Zoology and an MSc in Restoration Ecology, both from The University of Liverpool. With 10 years' experience, she has worked in both the public and private sector, as well as a freelance Ecologist.

Caroline has also spent time abroad, with the Kenyan WIldlife Service, at the Tsavo East Research Centre.  A 'generalist' in terms of ecology, she is particularly interested in work that involves a combination of disciplines, such as ecological work on motorways, railways, overhead lines and construction.


Oonagh NelsonCommittee Member
Oonagh Nelson MCIEEM

I am a Preston based consultant with 17 years’ experience in ecology and land management.  I have owned my own consultancy and landscaping practice since 2006.  

I have a foot in both camps, personally holding licenses for protected species as well as being a trained plant operator and I believe that sharing my background in practical implementation work as well as surveying will benefit fellow members.

I am seeking to represent the needs of small business owners within the region and I am keen to encourage uptake in participation of North West Section events by increasing opportunity for practical events and peer networking.


Committee Member
Philip Putwain MCIEEM

Dr Philip Putwain is a retired academic (Liverpool University) and currently an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Environmental Sciences. He is based at Liverpool University’s Ness Botanic Gardens. He is also a Director of Ecological Restoration Consultants Limited and is responsible for the day to day running of this company. He trained originally as an agricultural botanist but developed his research, teaching and ecological consultancy to focus on ecological restoration and the creation of green infrastructure. Working in association with Professor Tony Bradshaw stimulated his interest in enhancing and rebuilding biodiversity in post-industrial, urban and damaged ecosystems.  Consequently a major focus of Phil’s work was to develop links between academic research and practical implementation of habitat creation and restoration.  An important aspect has been long-term monitoring of restored sites.

This approach includes green places that sustain the well-being of local populations and enhance biological diversity, particularly in urban and post-industrial environments. Currently he is developing a special interest in provision of plant communities that support insect pollinators such as wild bees.

Phil is a member of CIEEM, the Society of Ecological Restoration, and the Association of Applied Biologists. He also acts as an external degree examiner for ‘environmental sector’ degree programmes and for MPhil and PhD thesis submissions. Phil is a Trustee and Director of the Cass Foundation Ltd, a charity that supports the creation of green places and involvement in the health and wellbeing of local communities in Merseyside.


Committee Member
Richard Roe CEnv MCIEEM

Richard has sat on the North West Committee for four years. He is a Chartered Environmentalist and is the Director of Kingdom Ecology. Richard tries to escape his desk bound duties as often as he can and so during the Spring/Summer field season he can often be found grubbing around in ponds, skipping about meadows or creeping through the crepuscular gloom, pursuing bats. His winter months are spent on the Mersey Estuary, binoculars in hand or if it gets too cold, swanning about the tropics where he likes to entertain a passion for strong, exotic cocktails.


Lizz WillottCommittee Member (co-opted)
Lizz Willott

I am a soon-to-be graduate from an MSc in Ecology and Conservation at Lancaster University, looking to move from environmental education to ecology consultancy. I worked as a tutor for the Field Studies Council for three years, teaching ecology, hydrology and human geography to a range of ages but have always wanted to be more involved in the surveying side. I hope to bring a student’s perspective to the committee, and would love to contribute more to this organisation. 


Committee Member
Gemma Wren MCIEEM

I am a skilled conservation manager/ecologist with over 10 years experience in the field of wildlife and landscape conservation through voluntary and paid work, in the UK and abroad. I have extensive experience of developing and implementing conservation/habitat management plans, including ecological surveys and monitoring programmes, as well as working with volunteers and developing local partnerships.

All for a variety of landscapes including drinking water catchments, nationally and internationally protected sites, uplands, woodland and coastal reserves.

I currently work for the National Trust as Countryside Manager for the Morecambe Bay Area covering the management of some of our key NNRs and SSSIs as well as an exciting new wetland project as part of the Morecambe Bay NIA.




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