Queen's Birthday Honours: The sustainability champions who made the 2019 list

The Queen's 2019 Birthday Honours list has recognised the outstanding achievements of a number of senior figures across the UK's sustainability and energy sectors.

(L-R): Defra's chief scientific advisor Ian Boyd, the University of East Anglia’s professor of environmental sciences Corinne Le Quere and the Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research’s head of climate impacts professor Richard Betts

(L-R): Defra's chief scientific advisor Ian Boyd, the University of East Anglia’s professor of environmental sciences Corinne Le Quere and the Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research’s head of climate impacts professor Richard Betts

OBEs have been given to the University of Reading’s professor of hydrology Hannah Cloke and the chief executive of the City of London Corporation’s new Green Finance Initiative Dr Rhian Mari Thomas, while the University of East Anglia’s professor of environmental sciences Corinne Le Quere was handed a CBE for her services to climate science.

Le Quere is notably a long-standing member of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and leads the annual progress update on global carbon budgets.

Additionally, the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) chief scientific advisor Ian Boyd was knighted for his work in ensuring that the Government’s work to safeguard the environment are rooted in scientific evidence. The honour also saw Boyd recognised for his research into the marine and polar sciences.

Boyd, who joined Defra in 2012, said: “I am delighted to have been honoured in this way and would like to extend my gratitude to the Queen for this recognition, as well as my teams at Defra and St Andrews who both do such important work.

“Throughout my life, I have always tried to do those things I found interesting and that might make a difference and I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve.”

Also recognised in this year’s list of 1,073 people is the Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research’s head of climate impacts professor Richard Betts, who was handed an MBE for services to understanding climate change.

Betts also works at the University of Exeter, where, during a speech regarding his honour, he said: “It’s a real honour to have my work recognised in this way today, especially at this crucial time when we humans need to come to terms with our role as new force of nature and learn to handle this power responsibly.”

“It’s a privilege to be able to study the workings of our beautiful planet in all its complexity, and the many ways in which we humans are now changing the climate system. I’ve always been excited to talk about this with anyone who shows an interest.”

Energy leaders

Among those from the UK’s energy profession to have received Birthday Honours this year are EDF’s managing director for the Hinkley C nuclear plant Stuart Crooks, who was given a CBE for his services to nuclear power, and the National Grid’s director of EU regulatory affairs Mark (David) Pickles, who received an MBE for services to Britain’s electricity market.

OBEs were additionally handed to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) deputy director for Euratom international negotiations David Paul Wagstaff and Bristol Energy’s non-executive director Merlin Michael Hyman. Hyman, who also serves as chief executive for energy market insight firm Regen, was recognised for his work to support the growth of renewable and decentralised energy systems.

Reacting to his honour on Linkedin, Hyman wrote that he was “proud to be part of a dynamic sector full of such committed and talented people.”

Not to mention... 

Other sustainability and energy professionals to have received honours on the Queen’s official birthday on Friday (June 7) include:

  • HM Treasury’s head of policy analysis for climate and agriculture Brendan John Bayley
  • Historic England’s former listing adviser Carol Ann Ryan
  • Defra’s director general for international and biosecurity strategy Nicholas Joicey
  • Defra’s deputy director Nigel Gooding
  • Oxford University’s former director of Kellogg College Malcolm Airs
  • The University of Exeter’s professor of eco-toxicology Tamara Galloway
  • The York Sustainability Institute’s director Professor Susan Grimley
  • Cefas’ chief environmental science adviser Steven James Malcolm
  • Defra’s human resources business partner Clair Alleebux
  • The Black and Minority Ethnic Environment Network’s founder and chief executive Dawda Jatta
  • The British Geological Survey’s chief scientist for environmental change Melanie Leng, who also serves as a professor at the University of Nottingham
  • Environmental campaigner Isabel Hood

Sarah George



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