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National Strategy for Bioresources Management – Panel Session

Conference Day 1 – Tuesday 14th November

This session will explore the development of the national strategy for Bioresources management for England, sponsored by Water UK (United Kingdom) and delivered by CIWEM (Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management) and AtkinsRéalis as Technical Advisor, with collaborators Cranfield University and Ken Shapland. The strategy has been developed with engagement and input from the industry, regulators and wider stakeholders over the last year and a half, with the final strategy published recently. The session will explore the context behind the project and the work undertaken. It will provide an opportunity to discuss the final framework through a Q&A with a panel of industry experts and project representatives.

Project Context:

The water industry is at a critical juncture globally; facing key challenges and uncertainty to existing bioresources strategies with emerging concerns regarding micropollutants, nutrient management, and emissions which impact upon the environmental protection of water, soil, and air.

The challenges faced by the sector are further influenced by sustainability challenges such as Net Zero Carbon, resilience, and circularity. This has brought substantial focus on the sector, which encourages an unprecedented opportunity for collaboration.

Sharing of knowledge, development of a collective understanding of the issues, further definition of regulatory frameworks, and development of innovation, technology and markets are all huge opportunities to be leveraged to enable key changes to help mitigate the challenges faced by the water industry. All of these if handled optimally could lead to improved environmental outcomes, a least regrets strategic pathway for bioresources management and provide an opportunity for England to position itself as a global leader.

The aim of this collaboration was to bring together the English water industry, environmental and economic regulators, and other key industry stakeholders to co-create a long-term framework for the safe, sustainable management of bioresources through to 2050. The work has been developing a collaborative long-term national bioresources strategy for England and a route-map to provide the sector with a view of the future direction of bioresources management.

With the findings and strategy now published, this session will offer an opportunity to discuss implementation of the framework and the need for wider industry collaboration moving forwards.

The session will include 2 short presentations followed by interactive Q&As with our panellists.

Presentations from:

Richard Brindle, Head of Bioresources Strategy at United Utilities

Richard is Head of Bioresources Strategy at United Utilities with over 24 years in the water industry. He was a key influence in this project as part of the Project Advisory Board.

He was central in raising the need for greater coordination within the sector to tackle the multiple emerging challenges for the sector, and in instigating the process to develop a unified approach.

This presentation will explore the context that led to the commissioning of the national strategy and set the scene for discussion.

Sarah-Jane Westlake, Associate Director of Bioresources at AtkinsRéalis

Sarah-Jane is an Associate Director with over 16 years of experience working in the Water Industry and was the AtkinsRéalis Technical Lead for the team developing the national strategy. Sarah-Jane is an accomplished technical leader in environmental regulation and has previously acted as UK Water Industry Research Deputy Programme Lead for Bioresources and the Thames Water company representative at several national forums including the Water UK Waste & Recycling Network and the Water UK Biosolids Network.

Her presentation will discuss the approach taken in developing the national strategy and the work delivered throughout the project, demonstrating some of the key findings and rationale behind the final framework.

Panellists:

Richard Lancaster, Global Director of Bioresources at AtkinsRéalis

Richard is a leading global expert in bioresources with over 35 years’ extensive experience in his field. He is a member of the international honorary organisation, the Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers, for his contributions to the water industry, and is a recognised Global Technical Fellow at AtkinsRéalis – a title reserved for inspirational individuals who offer deep technical expertise, innovative ideas, and future-focused insight. Richard has delivered bioresources strategies across the world and has a proven record of accomplishment of operational delivery.

Richard was the technical lead of the project, bringing his significant network of global utilities, academia, technology providers, regulators, and subject matter experts to aid knowledge sharing and drive development of the long-term bioresources strategy for England.

Lucinda Gilfoyle, Head of Environmental Strategy at Water UK

Lu is currently the Head of Environmental Strategy at Water UK having joined in 2022 on secondment from Anglian Water. Lu has a background in water and wastewater operations, operational strategy, environmental strategy and people leadership and is a Chartered Environmentalist and a Fellow of the Institute of Water.

Helen Wakeham, Director of Water Transformation Environment Agency

Helen Wakeham MSc FCIWEM is a water, land and environment professional with 30 years’ experience in environmental policy and regulation. Her career has spanned incident management and prevention, research, European Directive and Best Available Technique development, agriculture and land management policy and flood risk. She is currently Director of Water Transformation at the Environment Agency. Outside of work she enjoys being in, on and under our rivers, lakes and sea.

Paul Shaffer, Director of Innovation and Delivery at CIWEM

Paul Shaffer is Director of Innovation and Delivery at CIWEM, where his work spans opportunities and challenges covering Policy to Practice. His work bridges policy, science, and the delivery of good practice across environment, science, and engineering. He managed the Development of the long-term bioresources strategy for England and coordinated engagement activities for project.

Session Chair: Esme Piechoczek, Bioresources Consultant at Atkins Realis

Esme Piechoczek is a Bioresources Consultant at AtkinsRéalis with a background in sustainability and environmental policy. She is focused on driving the circular economy and achieving better social and environmental outcomes in the sector through strategic decision making, regulation and policy. She was a key member of the technical team for the project, supporting research, engagement and the development of the final strategy.

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