Environmental Politics

New Year Honours recognise environmental professionals

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Dr Nina Maria Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, has been awarded a CBE. Photo: Renewable Energy Association
Dr Nina Maria Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, has been awarded a CBE. Photo: Renewable Energy Association

A diverse group of environmental professionals has been recognised in this year New Year Honours List, including the outgoing chairs of two of the UK's environment agencies.

One of those at the top of the annual list was David MacKay, professor of engineering at Cambridge University, who was given a knighthood for services to scientific advice in government and science outreach. Mackay, formerly DECC's chief scientific advisor, was heavily involved in advising on shale gas extraction and biomass.

Several prominent women were made dames. Judith Hackitt, chair of the Health and Safety Executive, was honoured for services to health and safety and for being a role model in engineering, especially for young women. 

And Georgina Mace, professor of biodiversity and ecosystems and director of the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research at University College London, was recognised for services to science.

Former energy secretary Ed Davey was also knighted, albeit for political services rather than specifically environmental ones.

Meanwhile, Dr Nina Maria Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association and non-executive director of the WISE campaign to encourage women in STEM, was given a CBE for services to renewables and equality in the energy industry. 

Peter Matthews, who stepped down as chair of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in December, was given a CBE for services to environmental management. 

CBEs were also awarded to:

  • Neil O'Connor, director of fire, resilience and emergencies, at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), for services to fire safety and flood resilience.
  • Charles Randell, external member of the Prudential Regulation Authority and non-executive director of DECC, for services to financial stability and climate change policy. 
  • Rowan Douglas, chief executive of capital, science and policy practice at insurance firm Willis Group and a co-founder of Artemis, for services to the economy through risk, insurance and sustainable growth.
  • Nigel Gibbens, chief veterinary officer at DEFRA for services to the veterinary profession and animal welfare.

David Sigsworth, former chair of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) received an OBE for services to the environment and sustainable futures. Sigsworth, who retired at the end of 2015, said he wanted to pay tribute to the hard work of SEPA staff.

“This is not a good time to be leaving SEPA, given the interesting challenges ahead, but after two terms I’m obliged to step down. However, it will be a great time to be joining SEPA, which I believe has a very bright future ahead of it.”

OBEs were also awarded to:

  • David Jordan, former executive director of operations at the Environment Agency, for services to the environment and international environmental protection. 
  • Activist Jennifer Lonsdale,  co-founder of the Environmental Investigation Agency, for services to the environment, particularly whales and dolphins protection.
  • Stephen Ashby, former policy adviser on international plant health at DEFRA, for services to protecting plant health. 
  • John Sumpter, professor of ecotoxicology and head of Brunel University's Institute for the Environment, for services to the science of ecotoxicology in the aquatic environment

MBEs were awarded to:

  • Diane McCrae, former vice-chair of the board and chair of the Welsh Committee of the Consumer Council for Water, for services to the water industry and its customers. McCrae has just begun her new job as chair of NRW.
  • Paul Hamey, head of the exposure branch of the Health and Safety Executive’s chemicals regulation directorate, for services to pesticides regulation.
  • Anthony Bostock, chief executive of the Severn Rivers Trust, for services to angling and the environment in the river Severn catchment.
  • Edwin Derriman, trustee of the National Lobster Hatchery and former chief fisheries officer, at the Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, for services to marine conservation,
  • Peter Ogden, senior executive officer at DEFRA, for services to public administration and voluntary service.
  • Jaz Rabadia, senior manager of energy and initiatives at Starbucks, for services to sustainability in the energy management sector and STEM diversity.
  • Afsheen Rashid, founding director and chief operating officer of Repowering London, for services to renewable energy projects in deprived London communities.