Rachel Conti

Rachel studied Environmental Geoscience at UCL as an undergraduate and then completed a Masters in Environmental Technology at Imperial College, London. She worked at the Environment Agency working on the Thames Tideway Sewage Project and at the Environmental Research Group at Kings College London as an air quality scientist specializing in air pollution modelling. Since then she worked at Arup as an environmental consultant for over 4 years, where she continued to work within air quality modelling; and was lucky enough to be sent to the Hong Kong office for 3 months working on the Air Quality Strategy for Hong Kong. From there she secured a secondment to the Greater London Authority (GLA) before moving over to the GLA permanently to work on the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy.

However, her 3 months in Hong Kong gave her the travel bug. With the Air Quality Strategy finished, as of the 6th December Rachel started work as senior consultant for Environmental Resources Ltd (ERM) in Hong Kong. She expects that her main role will be carrying out air quality assessments and assisting clients with their environmental duties/ obligations in Asia; a fairly technical role and a good opportunity to see how environmental regulations are implemented on the other side of the world.

“I chose to be a member of IES as when starting out any career I thought it was important to join the relevant professional associations to develop my knowledge and understanding further. Though I specialize in air quality, the IES gave me a broader appreciation of environmental issues through its regular email updates and seminars. Once I had built up the appropriate range and length of experience in my field I applied to be a Chartered Environmentalist as I believe it is important to have that recognition from within your peers. I’m now hoping to work towards my Chartered Scientist qualification and will also be doing that through IES.”

The best aspects of Rachel’s career are the wide range of projects that she has been involved with. As an environmental consultant she has worked for many clients and has been able to influence their decisions to achieve a better outcome for the environment; this is particularly true for the urban development projects.

More recently, working on the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy at the GLA has been a challenging and enjoyable experience. At that level the scope of working with so many different stakeholder groups is vast and she learnt a lot along the way. Making the links between the ‘science’ of air pollution and turning that into policy was something that she hadn’t had the opportunity to do before. There is so much work going on behind the scenes to produce such a document and it is not always recognized; so Rachel found it enlightening to be able to get involved with this Strategy and appreciate the wide scope of work that is carried out.

Rachel’s first project at ERM has been to propose an Environmental Impact Assessment for the region of Macau (a Special Administrative Region in China). Working with ERM colleagues all over the globe the team have evaluated relevant case studies and reviewed what would work best for Macau. Rachel is excited by the project as EIA work is something that she wanted to get involved with, and starting an EIA process from scratch is not something you get to do every day, as many countries now have well established EIA frameworks. Although this is the first stage of a multi stage programme, the team has effectively been able to ‘cherry pick’ the best bits of EIA frameworks around the world and put them together for a system for Macau. Rachel has also been carrying out a desk top evaluation of the environmental baseline conditions of Macau and hopes next time she might be able to have a site visit to Macau!

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