Thursday, 25 March 2010

New Chief Executive for the National Park.

At today's New Forest National Park Authority meeting, the new Chief Executive, Alison Barnes, was announced to the authority members by the current interim Chief Executive, Barrie Foley. "We have finally found someone who I believe is good for the Forest, she is very outward looking and is keen to engage with all parties."

Clive Chatters, Chair of the NFNPA, said: "I am delighted to welcome Alison as our new Chief Executive. She brings an ideal combination of professional and personal qualities to take us forward."

Alison is currently a Natural England Regional Director for London as the organisational lead on Landscape, Green Infrastructure, the Olympics and Thames Gateway. She is Chair of Greening the Gateway Partnership and a Commissioner for the Mayor’s London Sustainable Development Commission. Her career has also included roles with English Nature, Dumfries and Galloway Council and the RSPB in Scotland. She was born and bred near Wimborne, and still has family in Wimborne, Christchurch and Hangersley.

Barrie Foley, describing her qualifications for the role focussed on her ability to engage businesses and stakeholders on green infrastructure issues in complex situations:

"Coming from Natural England, of course she's got the Green credentials, but when she went through the interview process a lot of it was focussed on "is she right for the business going forward, is she right for the community", .... I thought she was right, as far as I'm concerned, engaging with the people, engaging with the communities, that's what's the key thing. Alison has not come from an easy environment, working in the area she works in London.

Fielding a Press question about whether her approach would be right for local business, Alison remarked:

"I absolutely believe that conservation and nature cannot be successful, in this day and age, at all, without bringing everything together with socio-economic issues. To some extent, that's why those issues come forward, because we haven't been successful in the past. And for me, it is only going to be successful, if those things can come together, because this isn't a museum, this is a living working place.

Alison will assume her role from June 1st. Barrie Foley will be on hand to assist her during a month long hand over period.