Ben Coakley

Ben’s role is to manage the Strategic Environment Team at Chiltern District Council in Buckinghamshire. This involves the day-to-day management of a team of Officers in relation to air, land, water quality, radiation, climate change, green travel, flood reduction, energy management, pollution response and major projects. Ben also has a diverse set of strategic roles in relation to corporate sustainability, business transformation, emergency planning and resource reduction.  He is the Chairman of the Thames Valley Environmental Protection Advisory Group (TVEPAG) for 16 local authorities across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, and is also the Chairman of the Bucks Air Quality Management Group.

Ben originally undertook a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Geology at the Royal Holloway University of London. He then went on to expand his knowledge with an MSc in Analysis & Assessment at Imperial College's Silwood Park. As part of that course, he undertook a work placement at the Water Research Centre in Medmenham which was his first real insight into working on environmental projects. After the completion of his MSc, he accepted the role of Air Quality and Scientific Officer at Wycombe District Council. Ben later went on to strengthen his management skills through the undertaking of an Executive MBA qualification, for which he was awarded the Chartered Management Institute's award for Best Overall Student.

For Ben the best aspects of his current job are the considerable range of activities and freedom he is given to develop the service and make a difference corporately.

“Highlights for me have included the opportunity to develop an innovative  ‘sustainable house’ promoting renewable energy and sustainable building materials, development of award winning air quality websites, management of large scale solar PV installations across multiple public buildings and the development of a network of electric vehicle charging points.  I also enjoy transferring my knowledge on sustainability across to other services and initiatives and linking this with my management and transformation skills to provide alternative viewpoints and ways forward.”

In 2003, Ben became a member of both the IES and IAQM. He subsequently became a Chartered Environmentalist in 2005 and a Chartered Scientist in 2011.

“I chose to become a member of the IES because I felt it offered the best fit for my diverse range of skills and subject matters. This wide ranging mix of members provides an excellent network of professionals with the same passion for the environment and its sustainability. I feel that as an IES Member the connectivity between different disciplines is truly recognised and appreciated.”

Ben is currently seconded to the Chiltern and South Bucks High Speed 2 (HS2) Officer Project Board. Whilst the project is still ongoing and represents a significant challenge with real impacts and consequences upon the Council and its community, Ben believes it has provided him with an excellent personal development and learning opportunity.

Ben is aiming to become a Director of Service within the next 3 years and, in the meantime, further develop his business change and strategic responsibilities through further practical application and identifying opportunities for further income generation. He also plans to continue his own development through further academic studies, further development of national guidance (such as the IAQM air quality and planning guidance which he contributed to earlier in the year) and in his role as a DEFRA Regional Coordinator and Chair of the county wide environmental groups.

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