Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside Members

This page contains details of Members of the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside

Dr. H. Kirkpatrick (Chair)

Dr. H. Kirkpatrick (Chair) is an environmental consultant who has worked in the university sector as a lecturer in environmental science, specializing in conservation management and for the UK statutory nature conservation bodies in both science and policy roles.  Dr. Kirkpatrick has published general articles on nature conservation as well as being the author of scientific papers, reports and book chapters and is one of the authors of a recent book on the ecology and economy of less favoured areas in Europe as well as being an active member of the Rural European Platform.

Howard Platt (Deputy Chair)

Howard Platt (Deputy Chair) lives in Belfast. He is currently Deputy Chair of CNCC, represents CNCC on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC - the UK's statutory adviser on nature conservation) and Northern Ireland on JNCC's UK Marine Protected Areas subgroup.  He is a former Head of Conservation Science for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and has considerable knowledge of nature conservation issues and legislation.    While in NIEA, he represented Northern Ireland on several relevant, high level UK and European advisory bodies, including serving for over 20 years on the Chief Scientists’ Group of the JNCC and the European Commission's Expert Group on Reporting under the Nature Directives.  He has previously held posts with the British Antarctic Survey, the Natural History Museum and as a Director of an environmental consultancy company where he gained significant experience of change management. Howard is a qualified diver and currently a Council Member of Ulster Wildlife.

Professor Susan Christie

Professor Susan Christie holds an MSc and PhD in Behavioural Biology. Before her retirement in 2014, she was the Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Environment Link. She has previously been a Special Advisor to the Environment Committee for Climate Change Inquiry within the NI Assembly. Since her appointment to CNCC in 2012, Prof. Christie has brought a breadth of knowledge of NI environmental issues as well as recent experience of co-ordinating the NI input to the UK National Ecosystem Assessment. 

Dr Alan Cooper

Dr Alan Cooper lives in West Fermanagh. He retired as Senior Lecturer in Plant Ecology in the University of Ulster where he is still an active member of the Environmental Science Research Institute. His scientific research publications focused on applied ecological issues in the Northern Ireland countryside. He has previously been a member of the NI Committee for Nature Conservation, the NI Native Woodland Group and a member of the CNCC Ecology sub-group. Since his appointment in February 2012, Dr. Cooper has brought considerable expertise in the field of terrestrial and landscape ecology and practical experience of developing methods for monitoring countryside change.

Phil Davidson

Phil Davidson lives in Upper Ballinderry near Lisburn. She is currently the Wildlife & Countryside Advisor for the National Trust in Northern Ireland where she provides nature conservation and environmental guidance to deliver high standards of sustainable land management nature conservation management and opportunities to get people closer to nature. She leads a number of groups including the Coastal and Marine Issues Group and the Countryside Rangers. Phil has significant experience of collaborating with partner organisations and the wider community to deliver effective and positive environmental outcomes. She was previously Head of Conservation with Craigavon Borough Council where she developed strong leadership, management and strategic development skills and is currently a member of the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Group.

Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly is Development Manager at Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) and prior to this was the Policy Officer at NIEL with specific responsibility for the co-ordination of a range of policy areas. Through this role, he has applied his knowledge of EU Environmental Legislation to inform local policy decision making and has coordinated a number of themed taskforces to influence policy development.  Sean also farms on a part-time basis on the family farm situated in Co. Antrim.

Oisin Murnion

Oisin Murnion lives in Kilkeel. He is a farmer who along with his wife Anne Marie and daughter Jolene are responsible for conservation grazing of an Area of Special Scientific Interest. Oisin’s vast experience has led to a successful Environmental grazing business evolving over the years. In this capacity through his experience of on the ground farming in difficult environments has brought his ability to analyse complex information and translate this into practical conservation management. Oisin is past Chair of the National Beef Association in Northern Ireland. He is also a Trustee of the Board of Agrisearch in Northern Ireland and the Chairman of Mourne Mountains West common land trust, which manages almost 5000 acres of ASSI. The family business currently manages over 600 acres of conservation land in Northern Ireland.

Professor Julian Orford

Professor Julian Orford is Emeritus Professor of Physical Geography in the School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen's University, Belfast.  Since his appointment to CNCC in February 2012, Prof. Orford has brought considerable high-level specialist expertise in environmental science to the Council. He has been a member of the Marine Working Group concerned with advising on the Marine Plan and associated shoreline planning developments in NI. He was previously Head of the School of Geography in Queen's University and was a member of the National Trust National Nature Conservation Panel.

Emily Smyth

Emily Smyth is a chartered Landscape Architect, also trained in architecture, town and country planning, art and design, and education.  Previously a lecturer in architecture and landscape architecture at the Belfast School of Architecture at Ulster University, Emily has been Chair of the Landscape Institute in Northern Ireland, and a founding member of the Ministerial Advisory Group for Architecture & the Built Environment in Northern Ireland.  Emily is also a practising landscape architect, and has led major physical, social and environmental assessment and regeneration schemes within and beyond Northern Ireland.  Emily has strong communication skills and brings a detailed understanding of landscape to the Council.  


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