Writtle to host debate about improving the natural environment

October 2016

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Writtle University College and Essex County Council will be hosting the panel debate “Improving natural capital for people” on Tuesday 1 November with experts in conservation, natural environment and sustainability. It is part of the Chelmsford Ideas Festival which aims to stimulate and inspire people through a set of innovative events, talks and workshops.

The event takes place at Writtle University College’s Northumberland Lecture Theatre from 6pm, is free of charge and open to all members of the public who have an interest in this topic.

Panellists will include:

• Dr Peter Hobson, Reader in Biodiversity Conservation & Sustainability; School Research Leader; Co-Director at the Centre for Econics & Ecosystem Management at Writtle University College;

• Jo Roberts, Executive Director for the Wilderness Foundation;

• Dr Simon Lyster, a Board member of Natural England, a non-exec Director of Essex and Suffolk Water, Chairman of World Land Trust and a Trustee of the Rural Community Council of Essex.

• Richard Powell OBE, Independent advisor on Environment, Sustainability and Heritage and Chair Local Nature Partnership for Norfolk and Suffolk ‘Wild Anglia’;

• Edith Miller from Transition Chelmsford; and

• Deborah Fox, Head of Commissioning, Connected Essex Infrastructure for Essex County Council is to chair the debate.

Highlighting the relevance of the debate’s subject, Reader at Writtle University College, Dr Peter Hobson said: “It has never been more important to sustainably manage our environments and to improve our natural capital. Natural capital includes ‘our stock’ of waters, land, air, species and minerals which provide us with goods such as clean air and water, food, energy, wildlife, recreation and protection from hazards.

“Everyone should be empowered to bring ideas that can be put into practice to improve our environment, that’s why local representatives and the wider community should attend this event and contribute to the debate.”

Deborah Fox, Essex County Council, added: “I’m looking forward to some challenging debate. Why not bring your burning question? The panel will respond from a wealth of experience of improving natural capital.”

Attendees will also have an opportunity to see a display on a community-led mapping of natural capital in Chelmsford that has developed over the last few months. This is being provided by Transition Chelmsford and Essex County Council.

The programme for the event will be:

* Welcome

* Brief pitch by each panellist

* Question time

* Closing comments

The full address for the event is Northumberland Theatre, Lordship Campus, Writtle University College, Lordship Road, Writtle Chelmsford CM1 3RR. For free parking, follow signs for student car parks.

For more information about this event and many others running as part of the Chelmsford Ideas Festival, or to book your place, please visit