NNClimate23 conference

NNClimate22 - Speakers


Councillor Jason Smithers, Leader of North Northamptonshire Council  

Councillor Jason Smithers began his political career in 2018 as a Councillor and is honoured to be the first Leader of North Northamptonshire Council.

North Northamptonshire is his home, and he is committed to leading the council in bringing real change to the area and creating the quality of services which will bring improvements to everyone’s lives. 

He is determined to bring increased prosperity to the council area, while at the same time ensuring we keep the vulnerable safe, protect the environment and ensure that the quality of people’s lives continues to improve.  

Councillor Smithers is proactive, leading from the front, passionate about good services locally and bringing democracy back to a local level.  

Councillor Harriet Pentland, Executive Member for Climate and Green Environment, North Northamptonshire Council  

Harriet was elected to represent the Higham Ferrers ward on North Northamptonshire Council in May 2021, and shortly after, was invited to join the Executive as the Executive Member for Climate and the Green Environment as part of our commitment to tackling climate change and protecting the environment.  

A life-long resident of North Northamptonshire, Harriet has always had an interest in climate change and what we can do to look after our planet, and remembers being an ‘eco-rep’ on her school’s council. She believes that our new council offers the opportunity to make real progress in addressing climate change locally which started with the Council declaring a 'climate and environment emergency' in July 2021 and setting a date of 2030 by which to become carbon neutral. 

As part of this, Harriet has been encouraged to see the progress in delivering electric vehicle charging points, planting more trees and pursuing our commitment to reaching carbon neutrality amongst much more, but is mindful that there is still lots to be done at this critical time in the planet’s future. 

Session One

Dr Janet Jackson, Ecologist and senior lecturer in Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Northampton

Janet's teaching and research activities include ecology, conservation and the environment. She was a key contributor to Northampton’s Green Infrastructure Implementation Plan.

Janet is also passionate about environmental education to promoting biodiversity, pro-environmental behaviours and action towards natural resilience to the challenge of climate change.

Nadine Larner, Environment and Sustainability Manager, Kier Highways

Nadine has worked all over the country in an environmental role for highways since 2005, many in Northamptonshire. Nadine’s role enables her to drive initiatives to improve sustainability and environmental best practice.

Nick Bolton, co-founder, Electric Places

Nick has shaped and delivered economic growth, investment, and place marketing plans in some of the fastest growing local authority areas in the UK, including as Director of Investment and Marketing in North Northamptonshire.

In 2012, Nick co-founded Electric Corby to help deliver £15m of projects including Community Energy, EV Charging infrastructure and the next generation of net zero all-electric homes. Nick is now helping Electric Corby itself transition into Electric Places as the drive to net zero accelerates.

Session two 

Emma Arklay, Senior Development Officer, North Northamptonshire Council

Emma has worked in local government for 22 years including teaching sustainable development and writing countywide strategies on Education for Sustainable Development for Carmarthenshire and Oxfordshire. She now leads on policy development for open space and green infrastructure in the Local Plan for North Northamptonshire Council.

Tristan Baxter-Smith, Land Advisor, Nene Rivers Trust, River Nene Regional Park

Tris joined in August 2021 as a Land Advisor which oversees Landscape Enterprise Networks, the Water Environment Grant and the Northants Flood Resilience project, helping to deliver environmental benefits to farmland and communities.

He took on the family's Northamptonshire farm in 2015, which his family has farmed for the past 120 years, giving Tris a breadth of experience working in the agricultural sector.

Claire Barrett, Senior Adviser, Local Nature Recovery Strategies, Natural England

Claire has worked in nature conservation for 20 years, for both the National Trust and Natural England. Her current role focuses on supporting Northamptonshire’s councils and stakeholders in the creation of the Local Nature Recovery strategies, and their nature recovery work across the county.

Kate Chadwick, Executive Director, Rockingham Forest Trust 

Kate has been Executive Director at Stanwick Lakes since 2022 is responsible for managing this unique 750-acre countryside attraction and nature reserve located in the heart of Northamptonshire’s Nene Valley.

Kate reopened the site’s visitor centre following two years of closure, created new art and heritage exhibitions and launched a number of new craft courses and family activities. The site is managed as a social enterprise by Rockingham Forest Trust, the environmental charity charged with the protection of this SSSI site which has an annual turnover of around £1m.

Oliver Burke (MCIEEM), Head of Operations, Nene Park Trust

Oliver has worked in the conservation, sustainability and environmental education sectors for over 20 years within the public and charity sectors, and is a marine biologist.

Oliver is responsible for the day-to-day management of all operations at Nene Park, which covers 2,535 acres and has over 1.9 million visitors a year.

He is Chair for the Northamptonshire Local Nature Partnership and Nene Valley Nature Improvement Area, and sits on the boards of the Cambridgeshire Local Nature Partnership, the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Parks Partnership, John Clare Countryside Partnership and is a Trustee of the Nene Rivers Trust.

Session three

Peter Gudde, Energy Projects Manager, Greater South East Net Zero Hub

Peter provides support to bring Net Zero projects to investment. Peter has over 25 years technical and managerial experience across a wide range of customer-facing public services.

Peter managed a range of energy-related projects as part of the West Suffolk Council's Sustainable Energy investment programme. In the late 90s, he helped establish one of the first Green Business forums in the East of England and was a founder member of the award-winning Suffolk Climate Change Partnership.

He is a Chartered Environmentalist and Waste Manager and is a doctoral researcher at the University of Suffolk looking into the energy transition.

Victoria Blake, Environment & Sustainability Manager, Estates and Campus Services, University of Northampton

With over 15 years of experience in working in sustainable development Victoria leads the Environment and Sustainability team at the University of Northampton to develop and deliver on the university's sustainability strategy.

Victoria is dedicated to striking a balance between the objectives and requirements of the University with those of the environment and is passionate about achieving sustainability.

Previously, she worked as Sustainability Manager at BRE Ltd, where she was responsible for the management and implementation of turnaround initiatives to drive sustainability at a group-wide level.

Sarah Parr, Innovative Flood Resilience Project Manager, West Northamptonshire Council

Sarah is currently the Project Manager on Northamptonshire’s Flood Innovation program, funded by the Environment Agency, including a different approach to flood resilience in Harpers brook and Wootton brook areas. Sarah is a landscape architect by trade and has always worked in landscape industries.

Jenny Hamilton, Forest School Lead and Teacher and Elizabeth Jones, Lead Teacher of Science, Friars Academy, Wellingborough

Jenny is a Forest School Lead and joined as a teacher at Friars Academy 4 years ago. Jenny has been a teacher for many years, starting in Buckinghamshire before moving to Northamptonshire. She qualified as a Forest School Leader in 2020.

Elizabeth is a Lead Teacher of Science at Friars Academy. Elizabeth was a teacher for many years in Northamptonshire before moving to Friars 6 years ago.

Last updated 14 November 2022