NBN Trust Board
All our board members are senior managers and experts in their field whether this is information management, business development or biological recording.
Day job: Lawyer / executive
Chair since February 2019
Neil’s background is in law, having trained and practiced at the law firm Allen & Overy and subsequently holding senior in-house roles at Barclays and, most recently, Zurich Insurance where he was General Counsel for ten years. He has significant experience of governance, commercial, compliance and management issues at team, executive and board levels.
Reflecting his interest in the natural world and environmental issues, Neil is currently pursuing a post-graduate course on environmental law with a focus on biodiversity and species/habitat protection. Otherwise, this interest is satisfied in a purely amateur capacity by absorbing himself in the natural world through activities such as fishing, gardening, birdwatching and photography and taking advantage of the green and watery spaces of his south-west London “patch”.
Day job: Research and writing on biodiversity and sustainable development.
Trustee since May 2021
Peter has had a long career dealing with Biodiversity, long before the word was in common use. After completing his PhD at Durham on British heathland vegetation his first role was as lecturer in Botany at Monash University, Melbourne Australia.
For most of last century Peter held posts in academia and in the Australian Public Service, apart from a short period as the last formally appointed Chief Scientist in the Nature Conservancy Council. Following the reorganisation of the NCC, Peter returned to Australia to set-up the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, a federal government Statutory Authority which was responsible for manging the Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta World Heritage areas as well as wide range of biodiversity-related conventions. This role also included continuing development of the Australian Biogeographic Information System, that morphed into the Atlas of Living Australia.
In this century, Peter held the posts of Director of UNESCO’s Division of Ecological Sciences, Secretary-General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and Chair of the JNCC (until 2014). Returning to Australia for personal reasons, Peter took up a range of Honorary appointments with universities in Australia, China, and the UK, and took on the Chair of the National Landcare Network in Australia. Currently resident in Sheffield, Peter is taking joy in the exuberant wilding of the River Don, and practising cooking and learning (lots!) more about wine…
Dr Roddy Fairley
Day job: Area Manager – Southern Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage
Trustee since February 2012
After graduating in ecology from the University of Edinburgh, Roddy’s studies of the below ground ecosystem led to a PhD from Aberdeen University.
Between 1998 and 2008 he was a Director / Chair of Reforesting Scotland; between 2007 and 2009 he was a Director of Paths for All, and sat on Scotland’s National Access Forum; between 2003 and 2011 he was a Director of the Central Scotland Forest Trust and since 2005 has been a Director of the Cairnhead Community Forest Trust. He is on the Advisory Board for the OPAL team (the Open Air Laboratories UK-wide citizen science initiative) at Imperial College London.
Roddy has a long history of working for Scottish Natural Heritage. Between 2007 and 2009 he was acting Director of Operations following 10 years in area management. This came after several years in charge of corporate planning and organisational development. Before joining SNH in 1992, he was in charge of policy development in the Countryside Commission for Scotland. This all followed early work for the Nature Conservancy Council on various aspects of nature reserve management, survey and monitoring.
Roddy lives in rural south west Scotland where he sings in choirs, cooks for the family, writes poetry, keeps bees and walks the hills.
Day job: Chartered Forester and Chartered Environmentalist, Director and Trustee
Trustee since February 2018
Wilma is an experienced director, having held senior positions in the Forestry Commission and now has a portfolio of board positions. She is a Director of TWIC, the local record centre for South East and Central Scotland, and President of the Edinburgh Natural History Society. She is also a trustee for Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards and a board member of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society.
Alongside this broad environmental background, she brings considerable experience of corporate governance, strategy and change management. She has led the development of major computer systems and is now helping a number of groups develop their websites and improve the use of social media.
She has a particular focus on areas which support people improve their understanding and appreciation of their environment. She regularly leads excursions for the “Edinburgh Nats” and enjoys the exploring and discovery these field trips bring. Having become a runner five years ago, she has learned the value of being outdoors for improving health wellbeing.
Dr Belinda Howell
Day job: Managing Director at Decarbonize Ltd
Trustee since February 2018
Belinda is a Chief Executive and Non-Executive Director with extensive international experience in sustainability and climate change strategy across a wide range of sectors from agri-commodities, fisheries, natural resources and energy and water utilities through the supply chain to consumer goods and retail.
Belinda founded and is managing director of sustainability strategy consultancy, Decarbonize Ltd. As well as being a Trustee of the NBN Trust, she currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of the Marine Management Organisation, the National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences and two sustainable oilseed commodity standards associations. She holds a Diploma in Company Directorship and an MBA.
Passionate about the natural environment, Belinda volunteers for Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, checking on conservation grazing cattle on a site of special scientific interest.
Non-executive director and consultant
Trustee since May 2021
Terence has extensive and varied senior experience across public and private sectors, in the UK and overseas, including many years in the Ministry of Defence and four years as Chief Executive of Crown Agents, a leading international development company. He has had a long standing passion for the natural world, especially birds and trees, and is interested in the social effects of environmental degradation and in rewilding. He has previously served on the board of two wildlife trusts, and is currently a trustee of Tree Aid, a director of the Marine Management Organisation, and Chair of Trustees at NMITE, an innovative higher education institution.
Day job: Acting Chief Executive at the Natural History Consortium* (NHC)
Trustee since February 2018
After completing his degree in Zoology at Cardiff University and a couple of years working in academic research, Matt joined The Natural History Consortium (NHC) in 2011 and took over the lead of the BioBlitz strand whilst studying for an MSc in environmental management.
NHC is a Bristol-based and nationally active charitable partnership, engaging people with the natural world through collaborative action. It ran its first ‘BioBlitz’ in 2009 and has since been working with partners across the UK to promote and develop the concept, coordinating the National BioBlitz Network. Matt has continued to champion formats for public participation and engagement with biological recording as a positive action for nature, helping to convene discussion and support BioBlitz events locally, nationally and internationally. Recently Matt has supported a network of UK cities participating in the international ‘City Nature Challenge’ leading the Bristol and Bath effort to secure the most wildlife observations in Europe two years running.
Combining public engagement practice with professional development and communications theory, Matt’s interests include emergent theories of change, social ecology, behavioural science, mass participation initiatives and strategic communications all wrapped up in a natural history / environment context.
*The Natural History Consortium is a collaboration between Avon Wildlife Trust, Bath and Northeast Somerset Council, BBC Natural History Unit, Bristol City Council, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Defra, National Trust, Natural England, University of Bath, University of Bristol, University of the West of England, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Woodland Trust.
Day job: Chief Executive of Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC (GiGL)
Trustee since 2017
Mandy’s the first person to admit she started working in the local environmental records centre (LERC) sector by accident. Having taken on a temporary admin role with London Wildlife Trust (LWT) in 1997, she immediately found something more interesting to do in the form of manually creating stag beetle distribution maps utilising the Trust’s public survey data, some paper maps and a red felt tip. Her colouring skills eventually led to a role as assistant biological recording officer on LWT’s Biological Recording Project, which was set up in 1996 as a precursor to an LERC for London. In 1999, Mandy took over as the Biological Recording Project’s Manager and led the establishment of Greenspace Information for Greater London, initially as a records centre hosted by London Wildlife Trust in 2006, and as an independent, not-for-profit community interest company in 2013.
Mandy learnt a lot from the National Biodiversity Network’s ‘Linking Local Records Centres’ project which started in 1998, and has been a keen advocate for the potential that local environmental records centres have as regional delivery nodes within the Network ever since. She represented the LERC community on the National Federation for Biological Recording council for 11 years from 2002, and was involved in the development work and eventual establishment of the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres (ALERC) in 2009. She was co-opted onto ALERC’s board of directors in 2011 and stood down 6 years later.
Mandy was co-opted onto the National Biodiversity Network Trust’s Board to represent ALERC in 2016, and was officially appointed to the Board as a trustee after the governance review in 2017.
Mandy lives in south London, works in central London and escapes to green and blue spaces close to home and further afield whenever she can.
Dr David Slawson
Day job: Visiting Researcher, Imperial College London (former Director of OPAL) and volunteer
Trustee since May 2021
Currently, David observes and records species for two Citizen Science projects in his local area: Observatree (tree pests and pathogens; he is also the lead volunteer for Scotland) and Shorewatch (cetaceans). He coordinates the UK Tree Health Citizen Science Network and is a member of the RHS Science Committee.
Previously, David had a career in various Defra agencies leading Plant Health surveillance, research and consultancy programmes. In 2013, he used dead trees in a show garden at the Centenary RHS Chelsea Flower Show to communicate plant biosecurity risks to the public. In 2014, he became Director of the OPAL Partnership which started over 1 million people on their journey to record their local nature. His OPAL experience broadened his horizons to include air, water, soil, hedges, bugs and pollinators and also taught him some harsh lessons about financial sustainability of environmental projects.
David is keen to use his experience and networks to facilitate collaborations, inspire local people to learn about nature and generate accurate data to influence policymakers and environmental decision-making. Outside ‘work’, David’s interests include family – he has four grand-daughters, walking, cycling, rugby and bowls.
Day job: Scale-up CFO
Trustee since May 2021
Camilla works with rapidly scaling tech companies, supporting their fundraising, growth and data strategy, creation of scalable and professional systems, and developing or building finance teams. After working for 7 years as an investor with a cleantech and renewable energy fund, Camilla moved to her first CFO role with an electric vehicle technology company, and more recently to what3words (a new global addressing system, and indispensable app for any nature spotter).
Camilla has a long standing passion for the environment and conservation – she holds a master’s in Environmental and Resource Economics, and studied Biological Sciences at Oxford, where she spent summers digging up an English grassland to check the integrity of the residual seedbank, and measuring disturbance in tropical forests. Lately she’s simply enjoying helping her young children delight in the English countryside and the natural world.
Day job: South Yorkshire Nature Networks Manager
Trustee since May 2021
Pete is a conservationist, working for Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust (SRWT), with a background in all things data. He started his career as a trainee with SRWT, as part of the LEMUR scheme. After, he gained a position on their Land Management team, delivering practical habitat management tasks on the Trust’s Nature Reserves. Pete also studied for a Masters’ degree in Biological Recording at Manchester Metropolitan University, eventually becoming Senior Data Management and Monitoring Officer for SRWT.
Pete worked on the Data for Nature project, delivering a step-change in SRWT’s ecological monitoring and data management. The project was shortlisted for the NBN Group Award in 2019. Subsequently, Pete has been developing approaches to landscape-scale ecological monitoring and Nature Recovery Network mapping, as well as leading the More Data for Nature team in a follow-on project. In Spring 2021 he began a new role at the SRWT, to develop a Local Nature Recovery Strategy for South Yorkshire.
Pete lives in the Peak District, and spends most of his time hiking, running and working on his allotment.
Day job: Former Public Servant and Experienced Non-Executive
Trustee since July 2007
Andrew is a professionally qualified coach, working with people in leadership roles at all levels, supporting them in bringing about desired change in their lives and careers. As well as working with NBN, Andrew is a Board member of the Shropshire Hills AONB and has a number of volunteer roles in the Diocese of Hereford. He was previously a Trustee of the League Against Cruel Sports and an independent member of Shropshire Local Nature Partnership.
From 2006 to 2015 Andrew was an Executive Director at Natural England (NE), most recently as Executive Director for Science & Evidence. During this time, he has been variously responsible for NE’s Biodiversity, Landscape, Marine and Regulatory programmes, whilst also leading the organisation’s science and evidence work. Prior to this he managed elements of the Countryside Agency’s change programme in relation to the Modernising Rural Delivery Programme, bringing the Agency’s work on Landscape Access and recreation into NE.
Throughout his career, Andrew has held a variety of policy development and implementation roles. In particular, he was responsible for the childcare policy in Wales for three years and was responsible for the Local Government reorganisation in Wales in the mid-1990s. Prior to joining Natural England, he worked with the Audit Commission; his last role there was Director of Policy.