OUR PEOPLE

The National Flood Forum is a charity governed by a Board of non-executive Trustees and operates through a small team of professional staff. It has a commercial operating arm, NFF Services CIC, recently created to generate funding for the Charity.

Meet the team

The National Flood Forum has a team of staff all of whom are dedicated  to helping people at risk of flooding.

Tracey Garrett

CEO

Tracey Garrett joined the National Flood Forum in 2022 bringing a wealth of experience in engagement, communications and operational experience. Working with a dedicated team we aim to help as many people as possible prepare for flooding and support them should a flood event occur.

Heather Shepherd

Community and Recovery Support

Heather is a Flood recovery expert and powerful advocate for flood communities with a keen focus on ensuring that the right voices are heard. With 26 years of experience she has well-rounded knowledge in different elements of flood risk and recovery as well as working for justice for victims of flooding and securing better outcomes for flood communities.

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An influential subject matter expert and respected voice working for policy change who combines empathy for people who flood with effective action on their behalf. The driving force behind building and managing a network of over 500 Flood Action Groups with communities affected by floods, always maintaining a personal connection with these communities.

Former National Flood Forum board member and a key player in the establishment of the National Flood Forum as a charity. An Environment Agency appointee on the Severn and Wye Regional Flood and Coastal Committee for ten years and a contributor to the Pitt Review on flooding. This sits alongside appearances before Parliamentary committees, contributions to other government and industry reviews, and shaping essential research including a national study looking at flooding and mental health.

A trusted voice across the stakeholder landscape – including national and local government – and in the media. Respected conference speaker and contributor to flagship television and radio programmes as well as newsprint and social media, and survivor advisor for the National Emergency Trust.

Awarded an MBE for services to communities at risk of flooding and shortlisted for BBC Radio 4’ iPM New Year Honours award for work with communities in Cumbria. Heather joined The National Flood Forum in 2006 as a Director on the Board and was part of support to turn the NFF into a charity. In 2007 she became a member of staff specialising in flood recovery and community engagement.

Heather lives in Shropshire in a small rural village in the Upper Severn Catchment Area. She suffers constant repeated flooding beginning in 1998.

Heather set up a Flood Action Group to address the issues of flooding in the area. The group managed to achieve obtaining a pre-feasibility study for a defence for the village, which sits with the Environment Agency with no funding available to proceed due to the Governments cost benefit criteria.

Heather has worked running flood recovery for communities in Yorkshire 2007, Cumbria 2009 for 16mths, West Sussex 2014, and many other areas across England and Wales.

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Katia Sanhueza-Pino

Community Engagement Manager

I have an MSc in Geosciences (Germany) and an MSc in Hazards & Disaster Management (UK). I chose to focus on Disaster Management after working as a Geologist in Germany and realised how important it is to try to involve the population and communities affected by a certain hazard or disastrous event.

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The NFF provides this unique space where communities and individuals affected by flooding can be listened to and be represented while taking into account their local knowledge and experience. Being able to recognise the potential of a community and being able to guide them to seek a solution for their problems is something that I am passionate about.
Having been personally affected by flooding in the past, I understand the feeling of loss and emotions of flood victims and the urgent need to recover as soon as possible. Remembering how I and my family felt is something I will use to better understand the positions of people whose home has been flooded and offer better assistance in the recovery and preparation phase.

I have lived many years in Spain, Germany and New Zealand and enjoy traveling and discovering new cultures and languages. I have volunteered for a major homeless charity in the UK and have joined a group of volunteers that creates and updates maps of a region affected by a disaster in order to enable responders to reach those in need.

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Sanjay Johal

Community Engagement Manager

I joined the National Flood Forum team in 2016.  My keen interest and passion for supporting the community’s role in response to risk and disaster is why I became a flood resilience officer.

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For my undergraduate degree I studied BSc Geography and Environmental studies. I chose this major due to my interest in the environment and how we as humans impact this environment with our societies and urban areas. I wanted to learn about our connection with the physical environment and the consequences of our actions on it. In my undergraduate studies I researched and learned about physical processes such as Earthquakes, Hurricanes, floods and a host of other geographical disaster events. My undergraduate thesis focused on how individuals were affected psychologically after a flood event.

After graduating I worked in China as an ESL teacher. China is an ever evolving and dynamic country that I wanted to explore and understand in more depth. My time in China taught me the value of creating connections with people that can help them sustain their autonomy.

After graduating from my MSc in Hazard & Disaster Management last year, I felt that I would like to work for a progressive organisation, as my passion is to deliver help and support to people who need it. I feel that creating networks in which we can deliver quick and precise help to people when they need it the most, is both a fulfilling and rewarding career. My MSc thesis focused on identifying trends in social media support groups for flood victims after a flood event.

I have previously worked in social housing, helping vulnerable elderly tenants live a more independent lifestyle.

In my spare time, I enjoy Travelling (Asia, South-East Asia, Europe), Cricket, hiking, squash, and running.

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Jean Timmins

Administrative Assistant

Since April of 2014 I have been working on the administration side of the NFF. I provide backroom admin support to the NFF teams and am the main contact for the enquiries help line.

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As someone who has lived in an area that floods for the past 20 years, though fortunately never being affected by flooding myself, I have witnessed the devastation it can cause in a community and the stress and distress it can cause for those affected.

Before joining the NFF, I worked in adult education, as part of my role, I worked with people with acquired brain injuries helping them acquire IT skills as part of their rehabilitation. Previously, I had been a freelance IT trainer.

When I’m not working, I am a dog show judge/exhibitor, love to read about medieval history and am a passionate gardener.

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Edward Flaherty

Flood Engagement Officer

My name is Edward; I joined the National Flood forum team in May 2022 after graduating from the University of Manchester with a BA in Geography with International Study. I am working within the London Borough of Waltham Forest as a trainee flood engagement officer. I am both excited and passionate to be working with communities in this area as it is situated close to where I am originally from in East London.

Sarah Bennett

Flood Engagement Officer

Hi, I’m Sarah, a Flood engagement officer. I graduated in 2011 from Harper Adams University with a BSc (Hons) in Countryside and Environmental Management. This is after growing up on the floodplain of the River Severn and Vyrnwy in rural North Shropshire, witnessing the impacts of major flooding events on my community.

I have previously worked with young adults with additional needs to support them to become independent with everyday tasks such as meal preparation, job applications, washing a vehicle, accessing the community through using buses, trains and taxis and achieve their potential through work experience opportunities in gyms and garden centres. Away from work, I enjoy participating in distance running events. I am also a qualified lifeguard and gym instructor, as well as having a qualification in horticulture.

Hayley Bevan

Flood Engagement Officer

My name is Hayley Bevan. I joined the National Flood Forum in February 2023 as a Trainee Flood Engagement Officer. My degree in Geography & Natural Hazard Management as well as my background in teaching Secondary School Geography has equipped me with the knowledge and skills needed to empower communities to take control of their own flood risk.

Sophie Davies

Flood Engagement Officer

My name is Sophie and I recently joined the NFF team in April 2023. I studied International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response (BSc) at the University of Manchester. I’ll be helping to support communities in the Midlands as a Trainee Flood Engagement Officer.

As a born-and-bred Salopian I’ve witnessed the increasing impact flooding has had on local communities and I look forward to being able to help support at-risk groups.

Jahnvi Shah

Flood Engagement Officer

My name is Jahnvi Shah, I joined the National Flood Forum in May as Trainee Flood Engagement Officer and I have a master’s degree in Sustainability, Design and Entrepreneurship. I have a huge interest in climate change and extreme weather conditions and the impact it has on ‘at risk’ communities.
Previously I have also worked for an environmental agency as a marketing and content assistant – in this role I had an opportunity to express current and emerging sustainability issues and solutions. During my free time I like to spend time with my little daughter, travel to new places, try out new foods and read books.

Charlotte Jones

Flood Engagement Officer

My name is Charlotte and I joined the NFF team as a Trainee Flood Engagement Officer in August 2023. I studied Geography (BA) at the University of Oxford, and I will primarily be supporting communities in Lancashire.

During my studies, I took an interest in community networks and their potential to create positive change. Communities affected by flooding face unique challenges, and I am passionate about supporting them to advocate for themselves.

Arthur Rowlands

Flood Engagement Officer

As a Trainee Flood Engagement Officer for the National Flood Forum, I joined in September 2023. After completing an MSc in International Development at the University of Birmingham in December 2022, I am eager to apply the lessons I learned there, and to work with flooded communities throughout rural West Midlands.

James Leaney

Trainee Flood Engagement Officer

I joined the National Flood Forum in November 2023 after relocating from Sheffield to London. After graduating from the University of Sheffield with a BA in Sociology, I gained experience in the third sector through working with mental health services and environmental organisations.

As a Trainee Flood Engagement Officer, I will be working with my project partner, Ed, across the Greater London region. I am hugely excited to both support and learn from communities across the city.

Shani Lambert

Project Co-ordinator

Having been a Community Project Officer in several other roles within my career, I first joined the National Flood Forum in 2018 as a Community Flood Project Officer for Southwell on an Interreg FRAMES project. I worked with the community to support them with their flooding issues and raise flood awareness, with the underlying message that everyone can play a part in helping to reduce flood risk.

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I have always enjoyed working with community groups and being part of a team that drives change for the benefit of all, and I am delighted to be back at the NFF in 2024 in the newly created Project Co-ordinator role.

In my spare time I can be found in my garden. I love creating the best habitat I can for wildlife and growing fruit and vegetables for my family to enjoy. I am also a competitive archer and, in the past, I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Nottinghamshire County Team. I have also shot competitively at international competitions such as the World Masters Games and the Asian Masters Games.

But it’s fair to say that my true passion is pretty much anything British conservation and the environment. I graduated in 1999 with a BA (Hons) Archaeology degree and whilst working for a conservation charity in Grantham, I decided to undertake my BSc Wildlife Conservation and Countryside Management degree. I also have a PGCE in Environmental Science and MSc Biodiversity Conservation.

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Gaggandeep Saini

Slough Sponge Project Co-ordinator

I joined the National Flood Forum in March 2024 and look forward to being part of the wider team. My previous experience has equipped me with a 10-year supply chain and operational background which will allow me to use my expertise and knowledge whilst working at the NFF.

I am a hard-working and driven individual who isn’t afraid to face a challenge. I’m passionate about the NFF and putting my skill set to test. I would describe myself as an open and honest person.

During my spare time I enjoy long nature walks, my favourite place is Windsor and I have come across many royals along the way. I volunteer fortnightly to feed the homeless in the Berkshire area this is giving back to the community which is very rewarding.

Meet the trustees

The National Flood Forum is a registered charity that was established in 2002 with start-up funding from the Environment Agency (EA).   It is a national organisation that helps communities and individuals be prepared for flooding and provides recovery support post-flooding.

We also provide a strong and independent voice that represents the interests of people affected by flooding.  This includes working closely with national and local government agencies, flood protection companies and the insurance industry, as well as flood groups.

Governed by a Board of non-executive Trustees, our charity operates through a small team of professional staff.   We have a commercial operating arm, National Flood Forum Trading Services CIC.

The Board has a maximum of 12 Trustees.  The Chair of the Board is David Goff.  Please see below for details of current Trustees.

Trustee minutes

The Trustees meet up every quarter and here’s a copy of the minutes from the meetings.

Craig Woolhouse

Craig worked with the Environment Agency for over 30 years before retiring in 2021. He has senior management experience in policy and operational roles and is a Chartered Civil Engineer.

Working in the Thames Valley as Flood Risk Manager and then Area Director he gained first-hand experience of the impact of floods on people, businesses and their communities.

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Following the summer 2007 floods Craig worked extensively on improving England’s flood incident management capability. This included changes to flood forecasting, warning and digital information services, community resilience and recovery, better working with the emergency services and military, and the preparation of major incident plans, notably for the east coast of England. The needs of those at risk was at the heart of this work.
Craig has been Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers Expert Water Panel. He is married with two children and lives in Abingdon.

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David Goff

David lives in the Weald of Kent in a small parish community. He is married and has three children and six grandchildren.

He is a son of a farmer and before retiring in 2010 spent his working life in agriculture. He worked on a farm for seven years before spending twenty-four years teaching at an agricultural college ending up as Head of Agriculture.

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He then spent five years as General Manager at the Kent County Showground.

Since retiring he has spent much time and energy on flood related matters and attending many meetings with a range of people and agencies helping communities and people not only to understanding flooding but to find solutions.

David was flooded in 2000 and spent six months living upstairs whilst drying out and having repairs done. The area has also flooded in 2013/2014 and then in December 2019 and twice in early 2020.

David is Chair of the Parish Council and also part of the local flood group in the village. He coordinates the Flood Wardens in the parish.

He set up the Joint Parishes flood Group in 2016 with six other parishes and one flood group. This group was supported by the NFF and the local MP Helen Grant. It had a number of successes and still shares communication by email.

David is a member of the Medway Flood Partnership Group established in January 2017 to bring together local partners, national agencies, non-government organisations and community representatives to reduce flood risk in the Medway catchment and create better places for people, properties and businesses.

This group has had a major influence on getting things changed and improved in the catchment.

He is a Board Member of the local Internal Drainage Board and an Independent member of the Southern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.

When approached to become a Trustee of the NFF he was both surprised and excited by the fact he would be able to try and make a difference at both a local and national level in protecting communities and having the opportunity to work with other groups around the country and help set the agenda to ensure people are protected.

David is interested and keen to work together with all parties at local and national level to find solutions to ensure more people feel safer in their communities. He recognises the emotional and physical issues related to flooding and how long it takes to recover after a flood and the importance of working together has never been more important.

There is a lot of work that has been done but each flood brings new challenges, and he is keen to play a hands-on approach to the challenges that are ahead as the climate and landscape changes.

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Cherry Underwood

Cherry is the CEO for a small charity based in Nottingham, supporting communities in some of the most deprived areas of the City.  The Renewal Trust provides a range of activities and support those these communities and the Charity incorporates a trading company and a further subsidiary company which manages the Grade 2* English Heritage listed St Anns Allotments.

Cherry has worked in the voluntary sector for over 30 years, across Lancashire and in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, in various capacities including several Trusteeships at the Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum and the WMI. She is currently Trustee for the Nottingham Open Spaces Forum.

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As vice Chair of the Parish Council in her home village of Stathern, in the Vale of Belvoir, she chaired and mobilised the Neighbourhood Planning Group to bring an Adopted NHP into being to support and protect the village. She is a passionate advocate for communities voice and involvement.

Horse riding, their small holding and her family keep her busy outside of her work and voluntary commitments.

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Enrico Isnenghi

Enrico is a water engineer with 25 years of professional experience in flood risk assessment and management. During his career he has worked for a wide range of clients both in the public and private sector in the UK and in Italy. He has helped in shaping the flood risk policy and produced flood risk management studies on behalf of various local authorities including the City of Westminster. He has undertaken many flood risk emergency plans and climate change adaptation strategies for both infrastructure and development and led on hundreds of flood risk assessments embedding resilience and sustainable drainage solutions (SuDS) in a wide range of projects from small urban developments up to large scale masterplans.

Based in London, he is now the UK Water Environment Department Manager for Sweco.

Bob Haddon

Bob retired in 2016 after running a successful Home Improvements company which he set up in 2005.

This was a complete change of career after spending 25years in retailing starting as a branch manager. He then spent a four year spell in Jersey helping to set up a new sister company and returned to the mainland in 1986, progressing to a Senior Operations Manager, responsible for 240 stores.

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In his early working life he spent time in Engineering and the military (Army 7years).

During his time being involved in the “flood community” he was nominated and short listed for the Flood Re Local Heroes Award (November 2017)

He has presented to the NFF National Conference in London (February 2017) on Communities working with Developers.

He also made the opening presentation at the 1st NFF Community Groups regional conference with a presentation on the Shifnal Flood Partnership Group in Birmingham (November 2018) and fully endorses the work of the NFF

He believes he has acquired and learned local knowledge about working with Developers on SUDs since Jan 2014 and is actively involved in strategic planning for a community at grass roots level on creating a holistic approach to protecting and reducing the risk of flooding in his local community

He has a direct approach of analysing facts and finding solutions on flooding and people may consider him rather tenacious on flooding issues

He works effectively, participating at all levels from grass roots to specialists and professionals

He also believes that he demonstrates integrity, confidentiality and fairness when participating in discussions/meetings

He was personally involved in the flooding of 2007 and was displaced for 18 months until the reinstatement of his family home and is passionate about ensuring that what he learnt from his experiences can be of a benefit to others

He is currently Chairman of the Shifnal Flood Partnership Group in Shropshire [info@shifnalflood.org] and their progress to date includes creating a community group with an emphasis and belief that you need to work actively and effectively in partnership with organisations and agencies.

The Shifnal Flood Partnership Group are involved in extensive work on developing and creating a Catchment Based Flood Modelling programme for their community which is affected by flash flooding from a Local River and also surface water flooding. Their most recent initiative is to create a new community group called “The Friends of the Wesley Brook”

Friends of the Wesley aims to conserve, protect and improve the Wesley Brook and its surrounding for the benefit of the community, wildlife and the wider natural environment.

This new community group will ultimately develop into the public face of the Shifnal Flood Partnership Group and lead to the creation of a local flood resilience team which would respond to the local community in the event of flooding (Shifnal Flood Resilience & Recovery Team)

The plan is to create a contingency plan which would be put into operation in the event of a flood warning and also would act as a local flood recovery support team

Bob is extremely interested in helping the flood community and feels that reducing the risks of flooding for the long term benefit of communities needs to be a concerted effort with our partners in all of the agencies concerned with flooding

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Phiala Mehring

Phiala and a group of her former neighbours formed Loddon Valley Residents Association (LVRA) in response to the large 2007 flood event and subsequent local events in 2008 and 2009.

From the outset LVRA has worked closely, chairing regular meetings with, Wokingham Borough Council, the Environment Agency, Thames Water, the National Flood Forum, Loddon Fisheries conservation Consultative (LFCC) and other Wokingham based flood groups

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seeking ways to reduce local flood risk.  It is through contact with LFCC that LVRA started to appreciate the importance of achieving multiple benefits and working with nature when managing flood risk.  This more integrative and catchment based approach to managing flooding led Phiala to work with the Loddon Catchment Partnership (CaBA group) and establish Loddon Basin Flood Action Group.

As with many flood groups the above is achieved through voluntary work.  Phiala’s day job is as a Research Director working for a FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods – anything you can buy in a Supermarket) research company:  MMR Research Worldwide.  Phiala is also doing a part time PhD at Reading University into understanding the institutional constructions and public perceptions of flooding and flood risk management entitled ‘Get your water out of my lounge’.

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Peter Bide

After studying geology at Cardiff University, Peter worked for the British Geological Survey for eight years before moving to the Department of the Environment.

From 2000 he worked in research programme management, finance and science policy.  In 2004 he moved to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Planning Directorate

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where he led a number of important policy development projects including planning policy for flooding, coastal erosion, water and the natural environment. He was a Director on the Board of the British Geological Survey from to 2006 to 2011. He left DCLG in 2011 and worked for the Association of Drainage Authorities for two years as a technical consultant.

Peter is now working in a private capacity on water planning issues with a focus on integrated water management.  He is Chair of the Catchment-Based Approach Urban Water Group.

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Lynne Jones

Although retired since 2018 I had a background chiefly in tourism.  I started a holiday cottage agency which I successfully ran for 30 years and, with my husband, ran a B&B for 18 years building both businesses back up from the impacts of Foot & Mouth on the Cumbrian economy (2001) and then three devastating floods. I fully understand the trauma of losing your home – and business – to flooding.

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As a founder member of Keswick Flood Action Group (formed after the 2005 floods with the much-needed support of the National Flood Forum) over the last 15 years I have been involved in:

Flood Prevention: river/foul/surface water/SuDS

Flood Response: writing Keswick’s initial Emergency Plan used in 2009

Flood Recovery: grants/property surveys/property level protection/insurance/funding

Community Support: arranging drop ins/information events locally e.g., Flood Fairs with the National Flood Forum after the 2009 & 2015 floods, and with Cockermouth & Morpeth Flood Groups ran two Flood Conferences in Carlisle offering organisational advice to other communities.

Interaction: with agencies, authorities and politicians through ministries, inquiries, parliamentary committees and the media

Over the years the Keswick team have had quite a few achievements. Our town had a new and upgraded £30million sewage system in 2012 and the Environment Agency’s £6.1million river defences were improved that same year. In 2015 a new underground pumping station was installed in Elliott Park to reduce surface water flood risk for that area and we now have helped fund two mobile community pumps which are available in town ready to be deployed where needed. Working with the LLFA a further underground surface water pump system and upstream storage basin was completed in summer 2020 for the Penrith Road area of Keswick with a financial contribution from the community.

We continue to work, as we have done for many years, on achieving a better management regime for Thirlmere reservoir. This, we believe, could offer the best solution for the flood risk to over 500 homes in Keswick and also offer a means of peak flow management to the communities downstream. I am fully committed to a full-catchment approach for flood risk management in our mountainous area and am currently acting coordinator for the Derwent River Flood Group. I believe, as climate change intensifies both the risks of drought and flood, that there is a need for improved legislation and a rebalance of focus to ensure that both the government – and water companies – address the need to invest and act on flood prevention with as much urgency as they currently afford the need to ensure water supply.

I received an MBE for my work to prevent flooding in 2018

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Sally Priest

Dr Sally Priest is a social geographer having been awarded her PhD from the University of Southampton.

She is the Head of the Flood Hazard Research Centre at Middlesex University and has studied, researched and taught about flood risk and flood risk management for over 20 years.

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Her research focuses on a range of socio-economic aspects of flood risk including the benefits of flood warning and how communicating flood risk can impact on behavioural change, flood awareness raising, flood resilience, flood recovery and social justice in the context of flood risk management.  Sally has led many research projects across these topics and the findings have been used and are of interest to a range of national and international agencies.

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Michael Green

Michael lives in the Midlands with his wife and three children and is now a self-employed hydrologist.

He has 15 years’ experience in flood risk management in both the public and private sector, working for Local Authorities in the management of local flood risk – including engagement with communities at risk of flooding – as well as more technical work related to estimating floods and providing forecasts and warnings of potential flooding.

Daniel Martin

Having completed masters degrees in Environmental Science and Transport Planning, Dan has worked in the public sector for over 20 years as a flooding and highway specialist in the south west of England.

Dan has been an active member of the strong flood community within Somerset, notably as Flood Risk Manager at the county council. He was also a key member of the unique partnering and funding arrangement that established the Somerset Rivers Authority following the devastating flood events in 2012 and 2013/14.

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As Flood Risk Manager, Dan chaired the South West Flood Risk Managers professional group and was a member of the Catchment-Based Approach Urban Water Group. He has developed policy, secured funding and delivered a variety of projects with communities to manage flood risk. This includes leading an EU funded project promoting climate change adaptation in urban areas using sustainable drainage with partners from across England, Netherlands and Belgium. His work has provided opportunities to engage with communities and play an active role in sharing best practice and furthering awareness to prepare for and mitigate flooding.

Dan currently works in a strategic capacity for National Highways, managing a team preparing evidence of our future capital renewal needs. This work supports the securing of funding from Government to maintain England’s vital strategic motorway and trunk road assets.

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