Who Are We ?

What is the Essex Biodiversity Project?

Essex Biodiversity Project is an informal partnership of more than 40 organisations and individuals committed to preserving and enhancing biodiversity in Essex. A steering group comprised of representatives from the Partner organisations guide the work of the Project.

Partners support the Essex Biodiversity Project in a variety of ways; with funding, time, expertise or other resources. For further information about our work, or to find out how your organisation could play a key role in protecting the biodiversity of Essex, please contact the Chair of the steering group (Steve Plumb), the Coordinator (Mark Iley) or the Project Officer (Kieren Alexander) .
Aims

The Essex Biodiversity Project was set up in 1999 for the purpose of implementing the Essex BAP, one of the 162 local BAPs in the UK. These were formed following the UK's signature to the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) and the subsequent need for action to conserve biodiversity at a local level.

The overall aim of the Essex Biodiversity Project is:
                   To protect, conserve and enhance the variety of wildlife species
              and habitats in Essex through the successful implementation of
              the Essex Biodiversity Action Plan.

We will reach this aim by focusing our work on the following specific goals:  

  1.     To facilitate an integrated approach to conservation by improving the flow of information and communication.
  1.     To encourage participation by all sectors of society.
  1.     To promote awareness of the importance of biodiversity.
  1.     To support partner organisations in their legal and other responsibilities towards biodiversity.


We will achieve these aims through the use of our website (updated on a regular basis); our two-monthly Partners Newsletter, regular media exposure, presentations, other publications (such as dormouse and water vole information sheets) and project activities. The Project Officer and Co-ordinator are involved in conservation and research projects, community projects, species and habitat surveys, public participation surveys (such as marine mammal sightings) and collaboration with public sector and private partners.

The Project Officer provides expert practical advice and technical support to organisations and individuals throughout the county, providing valuable assistance with partners' work on behalf of biodiversity. They also initiate and organise the Essex Biodiversity Project's own projects on species and habitats.

The Coordinator works with all the partners to ensure projects are complementary and that our approach is integrated. This is achieved through participation in local authority biodiversity forums, providing advice for community initiatives, coordinating the Biodiversity Action Plan review and the Invasive Species groups and liaising with regional and national conservation and biodiversity bodies.

People

Chair - Steve Plumb

I am the current Chair of the EBP Steering Group. Originally from Wiltshire, I have worked in the countryside and environmental management for over 20 years, mainly in Essex.

After working as an Assistant Countryside Manager in Havering I left to establish the Countryside Management Service in Brentwood and continued to develop it and other environmental initiatives during my 14 years there. I left in 2002 to become a freelance consultant in land and environmental management.

My current work ranges from producing management plans for individual sites through to developing strategic initiatives.  A key area of work for the  past five years has been developing and helping to implement the Chelmsford Biodiversity Action Plan.  I am also actively involved in helping to develop initiatives to involve young people in biodiversity schemes.

I have a degree in Environmental Science and an MSc in Landscape Design Ecology and Maintenance.  I am a Chartered Landscape Architect (Management) a Member of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and a Chartered Environmentalist.

I have been involved in EBP since the start, initially drafting the Ancient Woodland Habitat Action Plan.  I am honoured to be this year’s Chair and feel that there are important initiatives for EBP to lead on during this time.  I hope that we can raise the profile of the work being carried out in Essex, secure additional funding and seek to develop a range of larger scale projects.

Co-ordinator - Mark Iley

I am the Biodiversity Coordinator Officer with the Essex Biodiversity Project and have been in post since August 2008.
 
I grew up in north east England near the coast, where my interest in wildlife began as a child turning over rocks on the beach, messing about around ponds and ditches, collecting insects and watching birds.
 
This interest led eventually to working as an illustrator specialising in natural history and biological work and a Senior lecturing post at Middlesex University.
 
I decided to make a second career in conservation and studied at Otley College, Suffolk for a Postgraduate Certificate in Conservation Management and advanced Biological surveying, prior to starting at Essex Wildlife Trust.
 
I have a broad interest in all aspects of the natural world and conservation management but have a particular fondness for insects and grassland, heathland and coastal habitats. I also retain a strong interest in the artistic and cultural opportunities that our natural heritage offers everyone.
 
This is an exciting time to be involved in conservation. Although there are setbacks, I am aware of a sense of resolve together with a confidence that the coming decades will provide many opportunities for nature conservation as a consequence of economic and environmental change and increasing public consciousness.

Project Officer - Kieren Alexander

I am the new Project Officer for the Essex Biodiversity Project. Before taking on this role I worked for the RSPB on the Suffolk Coast as the South Suffolk Coast Warden for four years where I looked after a suite of reserves, of which probably the most famous is Havergate Island. Before this, I did several roles including three years on the Farne Islands and six months in the highlands of Scotland looking at the movements of rare birds.  

 I have a general interest in Ecology and Biodiversity but my key areas of knowledge are probably birds and southern England habitats including wet grassland, heathland and coastal habitats and their associated management.

My current work for the Biodiversity project involves working on the Environment Agency funded Catchment Restoration Fund. These are small projects across the North West of Essex aimed at improving the River Chelmer and Pant catchments and bringing them up to Water Framework Directives.  These include working with landowners to restore meanders and create back channel along with some general riverine improvements.

 The Biodiversity partnership it has completed some fantastic work and I hope to keep building on this with the help of our partners.