Barnaby Briggs (Chair)

Barnaby Briggs has spent his career working on environmental and social issues within the energy sector, having worked both for NGOs and oil and gas companies. He previously held the role of Energy and Transport Policy Officer for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for six years during which he helped the RSPB coordinate an international biodiversity response to the Kyoto climate negotiations, and covered other policy issues around transport, including the impacts of UK and European roads on biodiversity.

At Shell, where he spent fourteen years, he contributed to projects in Alaska, Sakhalin in the Russian Far East, Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria. He ran the Social Performance Management Unit, providing policy, best practice and guidance on managing social performance as well as hands on support for companies and individual projects. He also help set up partnerships between Shell and NGOs, both internationally and locally.

He is now a consultant, working with energy and mining companies on improving their social and environmental performance. Most recently he has been working in Mozambique, helping a gas project improve its social impacts there by setting up a large-scale agriculture project ( and also creating a Community Development Fund with the full involvement of all sections of the local community.

A long-time birdwatcher and ringer, Barnaby also loves observing the hundreds of moths in his garden as well as exploring the outdoors. He’s been visiting Slimbridge since he was just 14 years old.

Martin Birch (Treasurer)

Martin is currently Director of Finance and Operations at Christian Aid, one of the UK’s leading international NGOs delivering humanitarian relief and development programmes in some 40 countries with some 600 partner organisations. Prior to joining Christian Aid, Martin worked with ActionAid and also with Prudential.

Martin graduated in Zoology from the University of Bristol in 1986 before pursuing an accountancy qualification, a Masters in Business Administration and then a career in the voluntary sector. He has previously served as a trustee on the boards of Landmine Action and The Climate Movement.

Martin is married with three children, based in the south-east of England, has travelled extensively and is a lifelong birder.

Andrew Beer

Andrew is Director of the Midlands region for the National Trust, responsible for a team of about 1500 staff and 10000 volunteers, who look after beautiful places for the benefit of the nation. In the Midlands this includes: great houses such as Hardwick Hall and Attingham Park: 80000 acres of land, from lowland farms to the heights of the Long Mynd and Kinder Scout: as well as back to back houses in Birmingham, a Chartists cottage, several villages, pubs, dovecotes, tithe barns and watermills

He trained as an environmental scientist and spent the first four years of his career working on international projects in some of the most polluted places in the world (China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Romania). He then worked as an environmental consultant in New Zealand for two years before returning to the UK to lead on habitat creation projects at Woodland Trust. He joined National Trust since 2009 as Head of Visitor Experience and Learning, where he led on the a number of strategic themes; the development of a family offer (natural play, 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾) and established long term partnerships with Arts Council England (Trust New Art) and Sport England.

In his spare time he acts as a taxi service for two boys, climbs mountains, plays tennis, runs (slowly), watches nature and (annually) presses apples for cider.

Prof. Alastair Driver

Alastair Driver has the honour of inclusion in Who’s Who for “distinction and influence” in the field of environmental conservation and is one of the most experienced river and wetland conservationists in the UK, with a growing international reputation in the field of catchment management.

Alastair is a naturalist who graduated from Lancaster University with a BSc (Hons) in Ecology and who went on to become the first ever Conservation Officer for the Thames catchment in 1984. By the time he moved on from that role in 2002, the conservation staff had increased to 25+ , budgets were measured in millions and improvement projects had been instigated which led to the return of otter and salmon to the rivers. Since 2002 he has been the National Biodiversity Manager for the Environment Agency covering England (and also Wales until 2013). During that time Alastair and his national team of specialist advisors have introduced numerous pioneering conservation policies and procedures for the Agency and are currently playing a key role in shaping the multiple benefits approach of the organisation.

He is also an Ambassador for the International Riverfoundation, a Biodiversity Advisor for the Commonwealth Secretariat, a Natural Environment Panel member for the National Trust, a Board Member for the Association of Drainage Authorities and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. He has also advised governments and organisations on environmental management issues in many countries outside of the UK, including Australia, South Pacific Islands, Russia, Brunei, Malaysia, Brazil, China and India.

The personal highlight of his career to date was achieved when he successfully spear-headed the winning Thames bid for the world’s largest environmental award, the $350,000 International Thiess Riverprize in 2010.

Alastair is married with three adult sons and is a very keen sportsman having played first class rugby for London Irish and he stills plays league cricket for Sonning. He is also the founder and manager of Ali’s Pond Local Nature Reserve in his home village of Sonning-on-Thames, the creator of school nature areas and a leader of wildlife walks for local groups.

Alan Law

Alan is Deputy Chief Executive of Natural England, the Government's wildlife advisor. His career in nature conservation has seen him occupy a range of specialist, operational delivery and conservation strategy roles. Together these provide a respectful perspective of this country’s past conservation achievements as well as a clear vision of the changes we need to make our conservation future one that will prove as memorable.

Alan has worked in practical conservation for 25 years, following studies in Zoology and Environmental Impact Assessment. Having started at WWT Martin Mere in the early 1990ies, Alan joined English Nature, later setting up the first UK Biodiversity Programme overseeing the development of UK priority habitat and species lists and action plans. He then provided operational leadership across South East England for many years; highlights include the Thames Basin Heaths programme and designation of the South Downs National Park. Alan then overhauled Natural England’s systems for engaging with the planning system and delivering statutory advice, setting standards for case handling, securing conservation measures in the National Planning Policy Framework and introducing a range of new commercial services. Subsequently he ran England’s marine designation programme, delivering the first tranche of Marine Conservation Zones as part of establishing the Blue Belt. More recently, Alan has been the architect of Natural England’s conservation strategy, C21, which sets out ambitious plans to fundamentally change the way nature conservation is practised; working at a larger scale, securing lasting benefits, and putting people at the very heart of conservation. This strategy, and subsequent practical reforms which are derived from it, continue to drive Alan in his thinking and working ambitions.

Alan has two young sons and lives in Oxfordshire with his partner Jen and their dog. If he got the chance, he would enjoy more of any (and preferably all) of the following: village cricket, walking, skiing, racket sports, running, travel, socialising and good food.

Hester Liakos

Hester is currently Head of Strategy and Business Development for The Fawcett Society, the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for the rights of women. In this role she provides strategic leadership to the organisation, and heads up all income and operational teams.

Prior to joining Fawcett, Hester spent five and a half years working for the National Trust, leading one of their highest profile visitor portfolios in London and the South-East. She was responsible for delivering a business plan that encompassed dual core purposes of conservation and supporter engagement, and commercial and project opportunities. This meant protecting beautiful and species-rich environments while delivering opportunities for access, enjoyment and inspiration. Prior to this Hester worked in business development, departmental leadership and project management for LexisNexis UK for nine years, following several years in B2B publishing.

She is proud that her first foray into charitable work was as a ‘Vole-unteer’ with WWT Barnes, helping with a project to release water voles back into the wild in 2006. She loves wild swimming, reading, travelling and spending time with her two children (three if you include the dog).

Alex Mawer

Alex has spent his career in the tourism and leisure sector as a brand marketing specialist, including seven years at Executive Board. He is currently a Global Marketing Director at the LEGO Group where he is responsible for the marketing relationship with Merlin Entertainment Group and their 8 LEGOLAND Parks and 23 LEGOLAND Discovery Centres around the world; which collectively expose some 24 million visitors to a LEGO branded experience. His role is to represent LEGOLAND’s interests into the LEGO Group and as Brand owner to articulate and evaluate the LEGO brand experience in the LEGOLAND estate. He is also responsible for joint global marketing activity between LEGO and Merlin as well as overseeing the ongoing consumer brand tracking.

Following his Master’s degree at Exeter University, he started his career in the advertising industry in 1996 working for a number of multi-disciplinary advertising and marketing agencies before joining the British Tourist Authority (VisitBritain) based first in Singapore, then Tokyo and latterly Hong Kong. He then moved to the English Tourist Board (VisitEngland) where he became Marketing Director with a team of 60 staff based both in London as well as in Europe, the US and Australasia. Having worked with the Olympic bid team for 2012 and then with the Rugby World Cup team for 2015 Alex moved to the Lawn Tennis Association as their Marketing & Communications Director. He joined the LEGO Group in 2017.

Alex lives in London with his partner, two girls, twin baby boys and two cats.

Simon Tonge

Simon is currently the executive director of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust and of South West Environmental Parks Ltd, a charitable organisation based in the south west of the UK, which owns Paignton and Newquay zoos, the Living Coasts exhibit in Torquay and three nature reserves in Devon.

He graduated in zoology from the University of Bristol in 1980 and his subsequent career included the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, where he was a herpetologist, and the Zoological Society of London.

His career also includes two years training as an accountant, which left him sadder but much wiser. He is a past chairman of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA); current chairman of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA); a member of the Zoological Society of London’s Zoos Advisory Committee; Chair of the Committee for Population Management of the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA); and sits on the board of two conservation charities in southern Africa.

Simon is a serious birder and interested in all aspects of natural history and conservation.