Extensions to appointments on the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside

Date published: 05 October 2020

Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced the extension to the term of appointment for three Members of the DAERA Statutory advisory body, the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC) commencing on 01 September 2020.

Daera Minister Edwin Poots
Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA

The Minister said: “I want to thank Sue, Alan and Julian for agreeing to this temporary extension of their appointments to CNCC and all the current members for their continued service.”

The three members, Professor Sue Christie, Dr Alan Cooper and Professor Julian Orford, were first appointed to CNCC in February 2012. These three members are in their second and last term on CNCC. Their terms of appointment were previously extended and have now been extended again until 28 February 2021.

A recruitment exercise to fill these posts and other vacant posts on CNCC is to be undertaken but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the recruitment process. This temporary extension is to enable CNCC to continue to act at its current capacity while recruitment competitions are held to appoint a Deputy Chair and additional members.

Notes to editors: 

1.      CNCC is a Statutory Advisory Council to DAERA established under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 1989.

2.      The aim of CNCC is to give independent advice to the Department on matters affecting the Countryside and Nature Conservation. CNCC does not employ any staff although it is provided with support staff by DAERA.

3.      The position of Chair attracts an annual salary of £9,740 and receives any expenses incurred while carrying out the duties of the post. None of the members being offered a second term or term extension receives any payment for the role although they do receive expenses incurred while carrying out the duties of the post.

4.      These extensions were made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland’s Code of Practice.

5.      All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published.  None of the members have carried out any political activity in the past five years.

6.      Biographies

Professor Susan Christie

Professor Susan Christie holds an MSc and PhD in Behavioural Biology. Before her retirement she was the Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Environment Link and has been a Special Advisor to the Environment Committee for Climate Change Inquiry within the NI Assembly. Prof. Christie co-ordinated the NI input to the UK National Ecosystem Assessment. 

Dr Alan Cooper

Dr Alan Cooper was a senior lecturer in Plant Ecology within the University of Ulster and has brought to Council considerable expertise in the field of terrestrial and landscape ecology and practical experience of developing methods for monitoring countryside change.  He previously served as a member of the NI Committee for Nature Conservation.

Professor Julian Orford

Professor Julian Orford is Emeritus Professor of Physical Geography in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Paleoecology, Queen's University, Belfast.  Since his appointment to CNCC, Prof. Orford has brought considerable high-level specialist expertise in environmental science to the Council. He was previously Head of the School of Geography in Queen's University and a member of the National Trust National Nature Conservation Panel.

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