MEET THE TEAM
I am an economist by training but a social scientist and passionate environmentalist at heart. I’ve been working on the economics of climate action for the last nine years with most of this focused on assessing low carbon options in the building and transport sectors. During this time, I have worked on projects commissioned by local, national and regional governments, NGOs, think tanks and academic institutions. Within the UK, I have worked on net zero strategies for multiple cities and regions, on the impacts of net zero on demand for jobs and skills and on the case for local investment in net zero. Internationally, I have played a leading role in the preparation of net zero strategies for cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Kolkata, Lima and Calgary, and in assessing best practice in climate action in cities in China, India, East Africa and Central America.
I'm from a business and finance background and was a partner in an accountancy practice specialising in corporate finance and strategic planning. I founded Otley Energy Limited in 2019 as a community benefit company working with Leeds City Council, Leeds Climate Commission, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Your Climate Strategy team to develop replicable business and finance models for local delivery of net zero. Our core approach is ‘connecting the dots’: joining up national, regional, city, and community priorities, networks, resources, and initiatives. This has included a number of consultancy projects with the Your Climate Strategy team and with local government, BEIS, UKRI, UKGBC, ARUP and PWC. For the last 24 months we have been developing a regional, systems-based approach to tackling the domestic retrofit challenge in partnership with UKGBC, including leading the development of the West Yorkshire Better Homes Hub.
I have a background in environmental science, and have worked on assessing the environmental and economic impacts of low carbon measures in the buildings sector and on evaluating the carbon savings potential related to land-use, agriculture and forestry. I have worked on projects looking at the economic benefits of investing in net zero in city-regions across the UK and on the development of net zero routemaps for local authorities in England and Northern Ireland. I am especially interested in addressing the challenges of climate justice and sustainability.
I have a background in economics and environmental policy, and throughout my career have worked on the relationship between economic development and the environment. For the last decade, I have worked on climate change and cities/communities, and especially on how to evaluate the investment needs and the social, economic and environmental benefits of place-based climate action. I have also led the development of place-based climate commissions that mobilise public, private and third sector actors and foster collaborative approaches to climate action in cities and regions. Within the UK, I have acted as an adviser to central government and have worked extensively with local authorities and development agencies on climate change and net zero and climate resilience, with a focus on policy and planning, economics and finance and business and stakeholder engagement. Internationally, I have worked on the design and delivery of local climate strategies across Asia, Africa and South America.
I have over 25 years' experience working in UK Local Government holding senior positions at Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council and Leeds City Council. In my role in Leeds, I established the Sustainable Development Unit that covered areas including climate change, biodiversity, environmental management, heritage conservation, renewable energy, architecture, sustainable construction, urban design, waste management, policy, research, communication and awareness raising. Throughout my career I have specialised in the practical integration of social, economic, environmental issues in the public sector in order to achieve sustainable development. Most recently I was the lead officer for the innovative Leeds Climate Commission, an independent voice in the city, providing authoritative advice on climate change so as to inform policies and shape the actions of local stakeholders and decision makers.
With an academic background in geography and development studies, I am committed to integrating both societal and ecological elements into climate strategies. I have nine years of professional experience centred around sustainable urban infrastructure, working in local government, academia and consultancy. I have led research projects on inclusive and effective infrastructure governance in the context of climate change across five continents, most recently exploring how cities in China, India, East Africa and Central America are providing basic services in ways that meet both human development and climate goals.