I’m the Environment Agency’s Environment Manager for Herefordshire and Worcestershire. I manage a Department of about 70 people who deal with various bits of our business.
We have a very wide range of responsibilities at the Environment Agency. We lead on many aspects of flood management, we permit and regulate many large businesses which may have an impact on the environment (such as landfills, power stations and water companies), we lead on improving the quality of our rivers, monitor the condition and quality of watercourses, and we provide a 24/7 response to pollution incidents.
During incidents I have two roles (although I only do one at a time!). I am an Agency incident commander, which means I’m in overall charge of our response. This involves making decisions about issuing warnings, deploying staff and putting up our temporary flood defences, as well as liaising with other responding agencies. We do 8 – 12 hour shifts during events which, as you can imagine can get a bit manic! My other role is media spokesperson. Despite having a face made for radio a lot of my time is spent racing between TV interviews! Media interest in environmental incidents is massive and during a big incident I’ll often do 15 interviews a day.
My recent media highlight was the Upton fish rescue where we returned hundreds of huge fish which had been left high and dry by receding flood water on Upton Ham in Worcestershire.
It’s not all incidents thankfully and one of he most rewarding parts of my job is building partnerships with others which help to improve our environment. I’m fortunate enough to chair the Worcestershire Environment Partnership (the County’s Local Nature Partnership) which has been a great place to get ideas off the ground and explore new ways of doing things.
I’ve lived in Worcestershire nearly all my life and am acutely aware of the importance of our fantastic environment, not only for its value as a home for a rich diversity of wildlife, but also for the contribution it makes to everyone’s quality of life and to the local economy.