Citizens' Assembly speaker profiles 1

Councillor David Hitchiner

Councillor David HitchinerDavid is the Leader of Herefordshire Council and Independents for Herefordshire and group ward councillor for Stoney Street. He is a former solicitor who worked in a corporate environment for over 30 years. David was first elected in May 2019, so is a relatively new councillor. He is very keen to increase local engagement between the council and the community.


Councillor Ellie Chowns

Councillor Ellie ChownsEllie is the cabinet member for environment and economy at Herefordshire Council. Responsibilities include action on the climate and ecological emergency. Ellie has worked in the field of sustainable development for over 20 years, initially for international development charities and more recently in academia. She works part-time as a lecturer in international development at the University of Birmingham, as well as serving as a ward councillor and leader of the Green Group on Herefordshire Council. Ellie previously served as an MEP and has lived on an organic farm in Herefordshire since 2003.


Rachel Coxcoon

Rachel CoxcoonRachel is director of ClimateGuide, a consultancy through which she provides climate strategy, training and leadership support to local government. Rachel is also a Doctoral Researcher at Lancaster University, as part of the Climate Citizens project, looking at the role of deliberative democracy in climate policy-making.

Rachel was previously the director of the Climate Emergency Support Programme at the Centre for Sustainable Energy, in Bristol. In her 16 years at CSE, Rachel built a formidable reputation as a leader in local authority and community-based climate work, with particular expertise in low-carbon planning and community energy, and she is a regular speaker at conferences and events on local authority action on climate change. Rachel also brings additional insight through her role as a local politician, since she is cabinet member for climate change and forward planning, at Cotswold District Council.


Paul Allen

Paul AllenPaul has lived with and worked with renewable energy technologies for over 30 years. His background and training is as an electrical and electronic engineer. Paul joined the Centre for Alternative Technology in 1988, helping develop a wide range of renewable energy systems including solar medical systems for use overseas. Paul has led the ground-breaking Zero Carbon Britain research for over 12 years - liaising directly with government, business, public sector and the arts.


Ben BoswellBen Boswell

Ben has worked as a sustainability professional for over 16 years and currently heads up the environment, climate emergency and waste teams at Herefordshire Council. He is responsible for corporate sustainability; waste management; sustainable and active transport; ecology, trees and landscape; energy management; historic buildings; archaeology; fuel poverty; fleet management; and renewable energy investments.

His successes include developing the county’s electric vehicle charging network, leading the county-wide LED street lighting project, developing the council's renewable energy investment programme and helping to develop the highly successful Beryl Bike scheme.

Ben has also been involved with the development of local and regional policy, previously chaired the regional sustainability network, won the Sustainability West Midlands Green Leader award in 2017 and is also a director of Herefordshire's largest community owned solar project, Pomona Solar.


Tim Yair

Tim YairTim is the regional senior energy project officer for the Midlands Energy Hub. His role is to support the local authorities in the Marches region to meet their net-zero ambitions through the delivery of the Marches Energy Strategy. Tim has worked in a range of roles for a number of different local authorities and NGOs. Originally based on ecological and scientific principles gained through a degree in environmental biology, Tim has developed a broad sustainability, environmental and energy management knowledge. Most recently, as energy manager, he was responsible for managing the council's carbon emissions and reporting progress against the council's reduction targets. Tim is an Associate Member of the Energy Management Association.


Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh

Professor Lorraine WhitmarshProfessor Lorraine Whitmarsh, MBE, is an environmental psychologist, specialising in perceptions and behaviour in relation to climate change, energy and transport, based in the Department of Psychology, University of Bath. She is Director of the ESRC-funded UK Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST). She regularly advises governmental and other organisations on low-carbon behaviour change and climate change communication, was one of the expert leads for Climate Assembly UK, and is Lead Author for IPCC's Working Group II Sixth Assessment Report. Her research projects have included studies of meat consumption, energy efficiency behaviours, waste reduction and carrier bag reuse, perceptions of smart technologies and electric vehicles, low-carbon lifestyles, and responses to climate change.


Jonathan Atkinson

Jonathan AtkinsonJonathan studied environmental science at Manchester University before working at the Ethical Consumer Magazine. He co-founded Carbon Co-op in 2006 and has been involved in new project development and project management.

In 2021, he co-founded People Powered Retrofit and now combines his Carbon Co-op role with business director at PPR.


Dr Richard Lowes

Dr Richard LowesRichard is a specialist in the technology and policy associated with heating and currently works for the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), a clean energy NGO, in their Europe programme. He joined RAP in 2021 with over 10 years' heat policy experience in industry, academia and working with policy makers.

After earning an advanced degree in energy policy, Richard worked for UK energy company SSE before moving on to gas transporter SGN, where he led the company's work on policy and government relations. In 2014 he moved to the University of Exeter, where he completed a doctorate alongside various heat-focused research projects. He also lectured on energy policy. Since 2019, he has been a non-executive director of the Scottish government's heat decarbonisation programme board.

Richard has a track record of delivering high-impact heat decarbonisation research and remains a research fellow at the University of Exeter. He has provided oral evidence to multiple UK parliamentary select committees, was an expert advisor to the National Audit Office inquiry into Great Britain's Renewable Heat Incentive, and was an advocate for sustainable heating at the 2020 Climate Assembly UK.

He holds a degree in geography and environmental management, in addition to his master's in energy policy and doctorate in the development of UK sustainable heating policy.


Gervase Mangwana

Gervase MangwanaGervase has lived in Herefordshire since summer 2018 but has been coming to the area frequently since 2007. He had a previous career as a music producer and DJ travelling internationally until 2008. He retrained in low energy buildings and works in the retrofit sector as an assessor, air tester and energy modeller.

Gervase has worked for People Powered Retrofit and Carbon Co op in Manchester where he moved from since 2015. In Hereford, he works independently and now with Simmonds Mills Architects who are half based in Hereford. He is currently working on multiple social housing development fund retrofit projects across the country.

Gervase is a keen cyclist and bird watcher enjoying what Herefordshire has to offer in both those areas.


Dr Hugh Ellis

Dr Hugh EllisHugh's responsibilities at the TCPA include leading on policy development, and briefings and engagement with central government. In 2018, he led the secretariat for the Raynsford Review setting out a blue print for a new planning system in England. Since 2015 Hugh has co-authored four books, including 'Rebuilding Britain' and 'Town Planning in Crisis' with Kate Henderson, and 'The Art of Building a Garden City' and 'New Towns: Rise Fall and Rebirth' with Katy Lock for RIBA. Hugh was closely involved in the passage of the 2004 and 2008 Planning Acts, including providing evidence to public bill committees and working closely with parliamentarians on both Commons and Lords committee stages of subsequent planning legislation. Hugh has given oral evidence to House of Commons Select Committees on various inquiries on planning, land tax and climate. He has led on TCPA campaign work on planning out poverty and planning for people, and he is a strong critic of policies such as Permitted Development. Hugh is currently leading on the promotion of Healthy Homes Act and on long term planning for climate crisis. He is also the MC for the TCPA's music event Land of Promise.

Before joining TCPA in March 2009, Hugh had been the national planning advisor to Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland since 2000. After spending a number of years working for the Coalfield Planning Cooperative on community planning projects. He has a Doctorate in Land Use Planning from the University of Sheffield and is a board member for Incredible Edible and Rights Community Action community interest companies.


John Christophers

John ChristophersJohn is a pioneering green architect. He has 35 years experience designing award-winning buildings, masterplans and urban regeneration, as zero carbon house consultant architect.  Through design, teaching and research he's always advocated sustainability, winning the national RIBA Sustainability Award in 2005. John's own home was the UK's first retrofit to zero carbon standards (2009).

After architectural training in Nottingham he joined Associated Architects, becoming a Partner in 2000. His lifelong passion is excellence in both design and sustainability.

His current work includes client design and sustainability champion on zero carbon buildings and housing. In 2021, he was commissioned by Herefordshire Council to write Herefordshire Future Homes, a policy standard for 2,500 new zero carbon homes.


Emily Partridge

Emily PartridgeEmily is an Associate at Architype, an architectural practice that specialises in designing buildings that celebrate the natural environment: that are healthy, comfortable and radically reduce energy use. She oversees a number of ultra-low energy projects as well as leading the practice's Climate Action Group to challenge conventions, assess regulations, bolster carbon targets and promote innovative but practical solutions.

Emily is passionate about two of the most fundamental challenges for decarbonising our industry: refurbishing existing buildings and eliminating the new-build performance gap (the systemic underestimation of energy use leading to chronically inefficient design). She believes that good architecture is one of the most important, and challenging, means to reduce Herefordshire's carbon footprint.

Before joining Architype, Emily had worked for a number of practices across the UK where she had specialised in community consultation and consensus decision making, most recently working with the K1 Cohousing Group to define a brief and develop a concept design for the Cambridge scheme. Emily is also a visiting tutor at the Centre for Alternative Technology (Machynlleth) and visiting Sustainability Tutor at UCL. She regularly speaks at architectural and environmental events and is on the panel for the West Midlands branch of Architects Declare.

Knowing first hand the complexities and expense of effective retrofit, Emily believes there is no excuse now to construct anything other than net zero carbon buildings.


Professor Stephen Joseph

Professor Stephen JosephStephen is a transport policy consultant, specialising in urban and local issues and in smart transport. He has worked for a series of non-governmental organisations and charities, including the Council for Environmental Conservation Youth Unit, the British Youth Council, the Civic Trust and the Town and Country Planning Association. He was Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport (formerly Transport 2000) from 1988 to 2018. During that period, he led campaigns to reduce major road building, to increase rail investment including in new/reopened lines and stations, and to highlight the importance of buses and the impact of cuts in bus services.

Stephen was a member of the Commission for Integrated Transport from 1999-2005, having been one of the panel of external advisers on the Transport White Paper 1997-8, and was a member of the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment (SACTRA) during its inquiry on transport and the economy. He was also on the steering group for the government's road user charging feasibility study 2003-4 and was a member of challenge panels or advisory groups for government plans on high-speed rail, eco-towns, transport appraisal and the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

He was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1996 for services to transport and the environment. He was appointed a visiting professor at the University of Hertfordshire in December 2018, having received an honorary doctorate from the University in November 2010.

At present, Stephen is a trustee of the Foundation for Integrated Transport and is on the steering group of the Foundation's Transport for New Homes project. He chairs the Smart Transport board for Bauer Media and is an adviser to the Rail Devolution Network. He is also chair of the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance Board.