Speaker Profiles

Howard Davies

National Association for AONBs – Chief Executive

Howard Davies was appointed Chief Executive of the National Association for AONBs in 2010. Prior to this he was Director of Wildlife Trusts Wales, coming into this role with experience gained in the Countryside Council for Wales, local authorities and the charitable and private sectors.Howard worked as Senior Warden for the Clwydian Range AONB from 1991 to 2002 and during this period was involved in the early development of the National Association for AONBs. He has been an active supporter of the AONB designation since then.

Howard has a degree in Biology and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


Hector Pearson

National Grid – Planning Policy Manager

Hector Pearson is responsible for leading planning policy and approaches to stakeholder engagement for the transmission business of National Grid, particularly the company’s approaches to developing new major infrastructure projects.

This includes the high voltage electricity transmission system across England and Wales, and high pressure gas pipelines across Great Britain.

Hector was heavily involved in the major infrastructure provisions of the Planning Act 2008 and subsequent Acts and in national policy, in both seeking to influence the Bills and emerging guidance, and in helping to design National Grid’s own internal policy and processes to meet the needs of the new major infrastructure planning regime.

A chartered town planner, Hector has been with National Grid for 19 years. Before joining the company, he was a planning consultant with Atkins and also with Arup, and began his career in local government.

Hector is on the General Assembly of the Royal Town Planning Institute. He is chair of Energy UK’s Planning Working Group, the trade body for the energy sector. He also sits on several international working groups on energy infrastructure.

Hector was listed in ‘Planning’ magazine’s ‘Power 100’, as one of the people with the most influence over planning policy and decision-making.


Matthew Roberts MBA, PG Cert (Cantab), CIEEM, AIEMA, MCIM

Interserve plc – Director of Sustainability Strategy

Mat Roberts is responsible for all sustainability issues across the Interserve group such as Waste, Water, Energy, Natural Capital and Social Value.

Mat joined Interserve in October 2014. Before this, he was Landmarc’s Head of Sustainability looking after all aspects of one of the UKs largest land holdings, the MoD National Training Estate, over 220,000 Ha from the Orkney Isles to Cornwall.

Mat was the Superintendent of Epping Forest on behalf of The City of London Corporation. During this time he was appointed a Freeman of the City of London.

From 2000 to 2005, Mat was part of the leadership team that created Scotland’s First National Park in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. This followed 10 years working in Wales as the Chief Ranger on Gower AONB.

Mat is an alumnus of the Cambridge University Programme for Sustainability Leadership, a Fellow of the RSA, Non-Executive Director of Cynnal Cymru (Sustainability Wales), and a trustee of the Princes Countryside Fund and a trustee of the National Association for AONBs.

He also spent a decade as a Trustee of The Conservation Volunteers charity and almost 20 years helping organise the Hay International Festival.

His hobbies include capsizing catamarans and falling off mountain bikes.


Ian Glover

National Grid – Environmental Sustainability Manager

Ian Glover is Environmental Sustainability Manager at National Grid and has worked in a variety of roles focused on safety, environmental and latterly sustainability aspects of National Grid’s operational activities for 15 years.

Ian was extensively involved in the development and roll out of Our Contribution, National Grid’s strategy for environmental sustainability and ongoing programmes to embed this across the business.

He leads the natural grid programme, a theme dedicated to ecosystem enhancement alongside National Grid’s energy networks. This encompasses engaging and involving stakeholder groups in the management of National Grid’s landholdings through to developing and embedding tools to account for the value of nature in decision making.

Ian chairs the Corporate Ecosystems Group of the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development, works with the Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability project on natural and social capital accounting work streams and is a member of the Sustainability Steering Group of the EU-wide trade body, Marcogaz.


Lyndsey Swift

VisitEngland – Head of Strategic Partnerships and Engagement

Lyndsey Swift is Head of Strategic Partnerships and Engagement at VisitEngland – the National Tourist Board for England. Lyndsey drives forward the development and implementation of the Strategic Framework for Tourism in England – the first tourism growth strategy for England’s tourism industry in ten years.

Lyndsey leads VisitEngland’s relationship with Local Enterprise partnerships and key strategic partners who impact on the visitor economy including Government Departments, trade associations, local government and other national agencies. Lyndsey’s career has its roots in local government, having previously programme-managed the Local Government Association’s lobbying work on culture, tourism, sport, transport and regeneration.

She was senior policy advisor in the Local Government Strategy Unit at the Department for Communities and Local Government, driving forward the 2006 Local Government White Paper and has worked at the corporate centre of three local authorities, supporting the Leader of the Council and cabinet members.


Carly Wood

University of Essex – Lecturer in Sports and Exercise Science

Dr Carly Wood completed her PhD in Sports and Exercise Science in 2012 and has been working as a research officer at the University of Essex since October 2010. She currently works within the Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences as part of the Green Exercise Research Team implementing and managing a number of green exercise research projects.

Carly is an experienced interdisciplinary researcher with advanced knowledge in the areas of exercise environment, physical activity and health. Her research focuses on the role that the environment plays in promoting physical activity and improving psychological health in both adults and youth. She is primarily interested in whether natural environments can encourage children to be active and whether the beneficial effects of Green Exercise for self-esteem in adults also occur in children and young people.