My passion for wildlife was stimulated in my teenage years, mainly thanks to my Mum (a biology teacher) who made me look at the world differently and being inspired by writers such as Paul Colinvaux. This early interest developed into biological research in my 20s, when I did practical conservation work in places such as the Comores and Mongolia.
Today, any free time I have I spend pottering around the flatlands of East Anglia or escaping to our hut on the Northumberland coast looking for wildlife and castles with my wife and children.
I studied Biological Sciences at Oxford and Conservation at UCL, and worked at Wildlife and Countryside Link before spending five years as Conservation Director at Plantlife.
I joined the RSPB as Head of Government Affairs in 2004, became Head of Sustainable Development in 2006, before becoming Conservation Director in 2011.
Today, the Westminster Government will respond to the Independent Panel report on the future of forestry in England.
Set up in response to the furore over government proposals to sell off public forests, we rather liked what the Independent Panel said. You can read our response to their (July 2012) findings here.
Two significant things have changed since the Panel reported:
- the public spending envirnoment has not improved, so look carefully at what is said about financing the public forest estate.
- Defra has outlined proposals for the future of Environment Agency and Natural England, so the obvious question to ask is whether the consultation will now be broadened to influde forestry.
I'll let you know what we think of the Government plans later today.