L-R.  Wayne Atkinson, Laura McKerrell, Dr Amy Hall, His Excellency Richard Cripwell, Martin Belcher, Fiona Bateson, Paul Le Poidevin, Steve Langlois, Jim Robinson.

Guernsey Nature Commission appoints new chair, expands board, and launches search for a chief executive

After a recruitment campaign which saw nearly 50 people put their names forward for consideration, the recently launched Guernsey Nature Commission LBG (“the Commission”) has appointed a new chair, Martin Belcher, and five new directors.  The Commission is also pleased to confirm that Lt-Governor Lt General Richard Cripwell has accepted its invitation to become Patron.As chair of the Polygon Collective, Mr Belcher is well-known within the business community in Guernsey.  The Polygon Collective is a carbon neutral organisation and has the largest fleet of micro electric cars in Guernsey.  It also supports various philanthropic ventures, the latest being the library in the Art for Guernsey Gallery.  He has long been associated with Guernsey rugby, serving as chair of the Guernsey Rugby Association and President of the Guernsey Rugby Club. Mr Belcher brings to the Commission a lifelong passion for the environment.

Joining Mr Belcher and Commission co-founder Fiona Bateson on the board are Advocate Wayne Atkinson, Dr Amy Hall, Steve Langlois, Paul Le Poidevin and Laura McKerrell.Jim Robinson (Director of Nature with the States of Guernsey) and Jim Roberts (Chief Executive of the Guernsey Community Foundation) will attend board meetings as observers.Mr Belcher, who is keen for the Commission to turn its attention to biodiversity net gain and to promote more regenerative farming and rewilding, said: “We are fortunate to have appointed an extremely strong board, with directors who bring a wealth of diverse experiences from a wide range of specialisms. It’s now time to plan for our first year of activity and to recruit an executive team who, under the board’s direction, will help drive the Commission forward.”

Fiona Bateson said: “We were pleasantly surprised by the level of interest shown by so many experienced and knowledgeable individuals.  We have recruited a well-balanced, knowledgeable board who are all passionate about enhancing the island’s natural environment and promoting greater biodiversity.

“We are now looking to recruit a Chief Executive. Anyone potentially interested in applying should contact Jim Roberts at jim@foundation.gg before 15 May 2023.”

The Chief Executive will work with the board to determine the Commission’s other staffing requirements. In the meantime, ecologists, biologists, those with social media experience and anyone with qualifications relating to the natural environment are encouraged to contact Mr Roberts so he can keep them informed of future opportunities for paid and volunteer work.

About the Commission

The Commission will act as a hub of collaboration, connecting the States of Guernsey, the third sector, business and the community, facilitating a shared ‘voice for nature’. The Commission will also help to deliver the States’ Strategy for Nature, a multi-year plan with objectives that include connecting the community with nature, helping to ensure the diversity and resilience of natural capital and assets, and sharing knowledge about nature.

About the Strategy for Nature

This strategy sets priorities, goals and objectives to achieve the level of sustainable nature management needed to slow down our rate of nature loss and to build the resilience needed to respond to climate change. To realise the ambition of this strategy, the States, non-government organisations, business and industry, scientists and individuals need to work to identify the areas where they can best contribute, whether through action or influence. For more information see:  https://www.gov.gg/strategyfornature

About the Board

Steve Langlois – has over 25 years of business experience in private and public utilities. He is currently Managing Director at Guernsey Water and a serving member of the Guernsey Dairy Management Board. Prior to this, whilst working for Anglian Water he gained Board experience with the Anglian Regional Flood and Coastal Committee and the River Nene Regional Park. As a chartered water and environmental manager, Steve is passionate about the water environment and has a keen interest in promoting the value of ecosystem services for physical and mental wellbeing.

Wayne Atkinson – is a partner at the law firm Collas Crill. Originally from the United Kingdom, Wayne went on to work in Asia and the Caribbean in large part due to his interest in marine life and wildlife photography before moving to the island in 2009. As an unabashed geek when it comes to all aspects of the natural world, Wayne hopes to combine his professional skills and personal knowledge in his role with the Nature Commission.

Fiona Bateson – started her career in the City, ranging across broking and investment banking. She then spent 10 years as a Director with a Boston based management consulting firm and was a visiting lecturer at Henley Business School, where she took her MBA. She went on to set up her own management consulting firm specialising in leadership and organisational culture, working primarily with main boards and senior management teams. She has an active interest in supporting start-ups with investments in 20 companies based in either Guernsey or the UK. She is also a UKCP accredited psychotherapist with an MA in Psychotherapy, a Diploma in Company Direction and a passion for nature.

Paul Le Poidevin – Worked for over 30 years for Kleinwort Benson in the Channel Islands before co-founding regulated fiduciary services business Aquitaine Group Limited in 2008. A farmer’s son, Paul has had a life-long passion for the natural world. As part of his retirement plans, he is in the very early stages of creating a nature reserve on the wildest part of the former family farm.

Laura McKerrell – Most recently Executive Director of the Guernsey Chamber of Commerce, Laura McKerrell has over ten years’ experience working within communications and project management. She is currently self-employed, working with clients around the world predominantly in the publishing industry. Locally born and raised, Laura has always had a great love of the outdoors and, as a result, has a keen awareness of the need to protect and help to enhance the very special island of Guernsey.

Dr Amy Hall  –  is the Director of Research and Training at Jersey based Sangan Island Conservation. Holding a BSc in Zoology, an MRes in In Ecology and Environmental Management, an LLM in environmental Law, and a PhD in Environmental Economics and Management, Amy has more than 20 years’ experience in the ecologically based research. In her work outside of Sangan Island Conservation Amy is the Chair of the Zoology Section of the Societe Jersiaise, Vice Chair of the membership Admissions Committee (MAC) at the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) and is Vice Chair of the Jersey Heritage Trust.

Jim Robinson –  joined the States of Guernsey at the start of 2022 as the Director – Natural Environment. The role involves the provision of strategic policy advice in relation to nature conservation and the management of a small team who, with partners such as the Nature Commission, are delivering Guernsey’s Strategy for Nature. Prior to joining the States of Guernsey, Jim worked in the UK for the government’s statutory nature conservation body for over 20 years. He had many different roles over that time ranging from agri-environment projects in the Lake District, strategic planning advice and the designation of marine protected areas.