Adam Donnan & Bea Gilbert
11 March 2024

Obituary: Dr Mike Romeril

Dr Mike RomerilThe Institution of Environmental Sciences is sad to hear of the passing of Dr Mike Romeril, who played a very active role in the IES.

Michael Romeril, who died on 24 February at the age of 82, worked as Jersey’s first conservation officer from 1978 to 1995 and then spent some eight years as the States environmental adviser.

A member from its early days in the 1970s, he was a very active and well-respected member of the Council. His opinion on policy and practice was greatly valued and he was a key figure in the development of these within the organisation. He was Chair of the Practice Committee for a time, which organised numerous events to help raise the profile of the IES within several major companies, many of them strong supporters of the IES today.

He also linked with local authorities in the rest of the UK. Working for the government of Jersey, he led in environmental protection and environmental education. Yet his visions and successes went far beyond nature conservation. He was able to bring together different interest groups to find solutions to complex cross-disciplinary issues. Current IES members remember him talking about the inappropriateness of RV 4x4s on Jersey, and the fashion for fitting them with bull bars that were a danger to pedestrians if there was an accident.

John Baines, IES Vice President, remembers visiting him a couple of times in Jersey, and he was clearly very proud of Jersey's achievements and the plans he was working on. Jersey's reputation for environmental care stems a lot from his initiatives.

John Baines recalls:  “In environmental thinking, Mike was ahead of his time. He was committed to raising issues, educating about them, and involving people in government, NGOs and communities in environmental improvement. He had the energy and ability to get things done. His input helped secure a future for others to build on."

Jim Longhurst, IES Vice President, recalls:  “Mike was an influential and respected voice in discussions about the role, place, and impact of the environmental sciences in the professions, and through his work with the Jersey Government, he brought contemporary and practical insights to the table. He was very interested in the development and training of the next cohort of environmental scientists and brought his practical experience into discussions about the accreditation of university courses. He was involved in various dialogues with other environmental professional bodies that predated the formation of SocEnv but were instrumental in creating the pathway to its formation.”

Will Pope, IES Vice President, recalls: “Mike was a great man and completely committed to our agenda, especially cross-discipline. Mike's calm, sage and balanced advice and views were so valuable. In terms of the professional dialogues, Mike had an important and supportive role here, and between us we chaired an informal Council for Science & Technology, which eventually split up into what turned out to be the predecessors to the both the Science Council and SocEnv.”

Dr Romeril is survived by his wife Angela, his brother Barry, his stepsons James and Jonathan and his seven grandchildren. Dr Romeril’s was a life to be celebrated, and the Institution is very grateful for his contributions to our work.

Photo courtesy of the Jersey Evening Post