Thoughts of SEP Chair John Harrison 24 March 2023
Published 30th March, 2023
I cannot believe how quickly the past 9 years have gone since I was asked to become chair of SEP. SEP is now in it’s 28th year and continues to achieve many successful outcomes for the estuary and the people of this wonderful ecosystem.
I have reflected on what I consider to be the underlying factors of SEP’S success and four come to mind. Partnership working, people, communications and a solid independent base.
Partnership working at local, regional and national level has enabled SEP to champion the estuary’s benefits as well as throw a spotlight on it’s challenges, in particular climate change, environmental quality and wildlife habitats. These challenges remain as difficult today as they were in 1995 when SEP was first established. However, I believe the level of awareness of these challenges are now better known and understood which augments well for seeking solutions in the future.
People make partnerships work. I have been in awe of all the people I have met who’s passion energy and expertise about the estuary has ensured our collective knowledge has grown considerably over the years.
Knowledge on it’s own is limited unless it is communicated far and wide. SEP has placed a high priority on both communicating with and listening to partners, stakeholders and communities around the estuary. SEP has embraced social media opportunities as well as recognising the inherent value face to face meetings bring, in particular our annual forum which I am thrilled to say will be taking place later this year in Cardiff on the 8th June.
At the heart of SEP is a solid base of dedicated staff hosted within the school of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Cardiff University who have supported SEPs loyal and hardworking management group. They have all championed SEP values of inclusion, independence and innovative evidence based thinking far and wide. I would like to highlight how Dr Rhoda Ballinger has been instrumental in upholding these values and driving SEP forward since 1995. I am delighted she has taken over as chair of SEP and wish her every success.