Patron and Trustees

patronPatron: The Earl of Selborne GBE FRS

Lord Selborne is a hereditary member of the House of Lords and currently serves as chairman of its Select Committee on Science and Technology. He also chairs the Foundation for Science and Technology.

He has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Chancellor of the University of Southampton, President of the Royal Geographical Society, Chairman of the Agricultural and Food Research Council and Chairman of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

Freshwater Habitats Trust is guided by the board of trustees

Trustee ML profile photoMartin Layer – Chair of trustees

Martin is a Chartered Geologist with long experience in quarry planning and development. He has worked in the industry for multinationals and regional companies as well as many years as a consultant. He is currently responsible for planning and estates for Oxfordshire quarry company Smiths Bletchington and is active in the Mineral Products Association (MPA) and the British Aggregates Association (BAA) on a range of technical committees. He is an advocate of the benefits that mineral extraction can deliver for geological conservation and for biodiversity and is on the advisory group to the Nature after Minerals partnership between Natural England and RSPB. He has championed ponds through the MPA and BAA and worked closely with the trust’s Million Ponds Project to apply best practice advice for pond creation on mineral sites.

Trustee JJ profile photoJuliette Jowit

Juliette is an environment journalist for The Guardian and The Observer newspapers. She previously worked for The Financial Times, where she won two awards for business journalism, and has written for other publications including The New Statesman, the Kew Gardens magazine and Parliamentary Monitor. Although she writes widely about policy, science and other issues, she has particular interest in and wonder at the natural world, and loves being outdoors.

Trustee JH profile photoBaroness Jennifer Hilton

Jenny has had a lifelong interest in nature, especially pond life, since being introduced to newts by her grandfather. Time in Greece as a child cemented this interest with the opportunity to capture tortoises and observe lizards and praying mantises. Now has a garden with two ponds and a further pond on the allotment.
After a long career in the police service Jenny has, in the House of Lords, served as chair of the Environment Committee for 3 years at a time when it was examining EU directives on water-quality. Jenny is currently a member of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. Her main hobbies are painting and travel and she has been a regular monitor of elections in countries of the former Russian Empire.
Her degrees are in Psychology and she also has Diplomas in Criminology and History of Art.

Trustee GP profile photoDr Geoff Phillips

Geoff is a research scientist at the Environment Agency and has had a life long interest in aquatic ecology.  His main research interest is the impact of nutrients on aquatic systems, particularly lakes and ponds.  For the last few years he has been very involved in the development of assessment systems for the EU Water Framework Directive and has been responsible for the comparisons of many of these across Europe.  Geoff holds an honorary research fellowship at the University of East Anglia and has worked closely with a range of conservation organisation on the restoration of lakes.  He has a particular interest in the Norfolk Broads and has been lucky enough to be able to study these lakes for over 30 years.  In his spare time he can often be found messing about in boats, large and small, or introducing children to the delights of pond dipping.

Trustee PJ profile photoPaul Jackson – Honorary Treasurer

Paul, CEO of The Hospital Saturday Fund is a graduate of Kingston University with a BA (Hons) in Economics and Politics, and an MSc in Charity Finance from South Bank University.
Paul joined HSF Health Plan as Finance Director in August 1999. Prior to that Paul worked for the Institute of Rapid Transport Engineers in the role of Finance Executive, Ford Motor Company and Capita Financial Group in Sydney, Australia.
Paul is a keen scuba diver and a member of The Shark Trust, Chairman of The Manta Trust, Chairman of The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering’s Registration Authority, Exam Marker for the ICAEW’s Diploma in Charity Accounting (DChA) and is now the Honorary Treasurer for the Freshwater Habitats Trust!
Paul lives in Surrey and is married with one daughter.

Trustee KL profile photo_croppedKeith Lawrey

Keith joined the Freshwater Habitats Trust board in July 2014. He served as The College of Teacher’s Honorary Treasurer for 25 years 1987-2010. He is also the founder of the Company of Educators. Keith has been the Learned Societies’ Liaison Officer at the Foundation for Science and Technology since 1997. He became one of the first members of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators when it was founded in 1976 and then conceived the idea of establishing one for educators. Keith is responsible for the 250 societies subscribing to the Foundation, for producing the bi-monthly newsletter, for giving legal support including petitioning for incorporation by Royal Charter, guiding on matters of professional discipline and for drafting responses to consultative documents.

Trustee RT profile photoRoger Thomas

Roger was Chief Executive of CCW from 2002-2013. A biologist by training, he has spent his career in the water industry and environmental management. Before moving to CCW, he was Director of Environment Agency Wales. The main focus of his time at CCW was mitigation for, and adaption to, environmental change. Roger has been Secretary-Treasurer of the EEAC (the European network of environment and sustainable development advisory councils) for the last 4 years and was a founder member of ENCA (the European network of heads of conservation agencies). He currently chairs the Coed Cymru Partnership and Tir Coed (both woodland charities operating in Wales) and is an associate of the Welsh Institute for Natural Resources at Bangor University.

Mark Downs_profile photoDr Mark Downs

Mark joined the Royal Society of Biology as CEO in 2009 from the major charity for hearing health and deafness, RNID, where he was the Executive director for Science and Enterprise (2004-2009).  Mark joined RNID after spending three years as the UK’s lead policy official for negotiating and implementing a range of far reaching, EU driven, business related environmental legislation at the Department of Trade and Industry. He previously spent five years in the Diplomatic Service based at the British Embassy in Tokyo as First Secretary (Trade Policy) with responsibility for all UK-Japan bilateral and multilateral trade relations.  He focused, in particular, on the medical, environmental, telecommunications and legal services markets.  Until June 2014 Mark was also a Trustee and vice-chair of the Board of the Science Council. Additionally, he was a Member of the British Science Association’s Audit Committee, having formerly served on their General Committee.  Mark has bio-science background and gained a BSc (Kings College, London) and a Ph.D (Cranfield University) in Biotechnology.

Kasia Ladds_photo for websiteKasia Ladds

Kasia Ladds is Marketing and Communications Manager at Cambridge Enterprise, the communications arm of the University of Cambridge. She helps Cambridge Enterprise engage with the University’s academic partners to commercialise their research. Her skills include distilling complex science and technology inventions and concepts to write articles that appeal to a lay audience. A graduate of the University of Kent, Kasia earned a Masters of Creative Writing in 2012. She has a long-standing interest in wildlife and nature and is a keen forager.


Special Advisors

Trustee-LM-profile-photoProfessor Lorraine Maltby

Lorraine is Professor of Environmental Biology at The University of Sheffield and her research interests are in the areas of freshwater ecology and ecotoxicology. She has served on the European and global governing bodies of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and on two UK government advisory committees (Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances, Advisory Committee on Pesticides). Lorraine is currently a member of the European Food Safety Authority expert group on ecotoxicology and a Council member of the Freshwater Biological Association.


New positions

We are always on the look out for new Trustees so if you think you have skills and knowledge that would be helpful to our board please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Company Secretary Jo Fever on