Guernsey Press

Non-exec directors needed for new nature commission

THE Guernsey Nature Commission has launched and is looking for non-executive directors to join its board.

Left to right, Guernsey Community Foundation directors Jim Roberts and Sir Richard Collas with chairwoman Fiona Bateson. The GCF has set up the Guernsey Nature Commission. (Picture by Chris George)

This independent local charity was conceived by the Guernsey Community Foundation with the aim of helping to deliver the States’ Strategy for Nature which was published in 2020.

It had been hoped to launch it last year, but chairwoman Fiona Bateson said it took longer than expected to sort out funding.

‘Both the States and the commission wanted to make sure that the funding agreement with the States served both parties to the best of its ability and that process has taken slightly longer than was hoped,’ she said.

Environment & Infrastructure has agreed to provide £300,000 of funding over the next three years.

A further £150,000 will come from the Community Foundation and a grant of £100,000, to be paid over two years, from the Social Investment Fund.

The commission will work with business, government, the third sector and the public ‘to enhance the island’s natural environment and promote greater biodiversity’.

As well as Ms Bateson as chairwoman, two other board members of the Community Foundation are directors – Sir Richard Collas and Jim Roberts.

She said the Strategy for Nature played a critical part in the origin of the new commission.

‘It was the impetus, with the beginnings of it born out of the Biodiversity Partnership Group.

‘The group and the Community Foundation realised that there were a number of needs that could be more effectively delivered outside of the States.’

Members of the BPG include La Societe Guernesiaise, the National Trust of Guernsey, Guernsey Conservation Volunteers and the Pollinator Project and Ms Bateson said the commission’s role would be to work with all of these ‘to make sure we’re all pointing in the same direction’.

Additional board members are now being recruited and once they are in place the search will be on for a chief executive and staff members.

Ms Bateson said she would like to see people coming forward who are enthusiastic about the environment and who have a business background, and as well as a chief executive, there was a need for a finance director, a lawyer and someone who understood good governance.

There was also a need to find someone new to chair the group, since having been involved from the start Ms Bateson felt it was time for someone else to take up the role.

Among the aims of the new commission is to facilitate a shared ‘voice for nature’ by providing a hub of collaboration, to support the third sector in raising awareness of the island’s natural environment, organising and promoting citizen science and acting as a vehicle through which business can contribute to the health of the environment.

E&I president Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez said the initial funding from the States would help deliver its Strategy for Nature in a more efficient way ‘and aims to unlock significant investment in our natural environment’.