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Meet the Team


Alison Smyth

Broadland Farm Advisor

alison Alison Smyth is a Senior Farm and Land use Adviser. With a background in agri-environment schemes, sustainable farming systems and soil management. Alison works with farmers in the Upper Bure Catchment as part of the Riverlands project and supports our farm team with her knowledge and expertise of working with farmers for over 30 years. Alison has particular interest in improving soil health, organic farming systems and climate resilience.

Ant Gagen

Senior Project Officer

IMG20201022105037-min Ant Gagen is our North Norfolk Catchment Team Leader. With a background in ecology and conservation. Ant coordinates the projects in North Norfolk, assisting his team in delivering river restoration schemes and habitat improvements. He has a particular interest in treatment wetlands and detailed river design.

Cassie Chanin

Trees and Meadows Advisor

Cassie Chanin is our Trees and Meadows Advisor. With a background in ecology, conservation, and practical habitat management. Cassie currently works on the Woodlands for Water project, which aims to support landowners with riparian tree planting, in addition to the Air Wick and WWF Pollinator project, which aims to restore and create wildflower meadow habitats across Norfolk. She is interested in various different species and habitats, but has spent time surveying bats, dormice, Lepidoptera and grassland plants in the past.

Donna Dean

River Catchment & Restoration Team Leader

Donna Dean is our River Catchment & Restoration Team Leader. With a background in ecology, conservation and outdoor and high school education. Donna works alongside and supports her colleagues in the aquatic restoration team, carrying out restoration projects across Norfolk. She has particular interest in the Eurasian Otter, having studied their habitat and prey preferences on chalk streams with NRT and the UEA.

Ed Bramham-Jones

Chief Executive Officer

Ed Ed Bramham-Jones is our CEO. With a background in land management, farming and species conservation. Ed oversees the day-to-day running of the Trust and Rivers Ecology, our consultancy arm. He has a particular interest in delivering catchment-scale change through working in partnership to improve our rare chalk streams and the wider environment.

Elle Claiborn

CaSTCo Citizen Science Officer

Elle Claiborn is our CaSTCo Citizen Science Officer. With a background in international development, water security, sociology/anthropology and teaching. Elle coordinates citizen scientists taking weekly water quality testing on the river Wensum and its tributaries, and the data derived from this testing. She is also a member of the Wensum Catchment Partnership water quality and management teams. Elle has a particular interest in how people and waterways affect one another, and how education and involvement can enhance both. She holds a riverfly certificate.

Erin Madden

River Restoration Project Officer

Erin Madden is our River Restoration Project Officer. With a background in conservation land management at sites across the UK and moorland restoration in The South Pennines and Peak District National Park. Erin plans, designs and implements complex river restoration projects in North Norfolk. These projects provide Nature-based Solutions to slow the flow of water, boost biodiversity and improve water quality. With a particular interest in wetland birds, Erin has carried out large-scale surveys in Lancashire and Cumbria.

Georgia Waye-Barker

Evidence and Engagement Coordinator

georgia Georgia Waye-Barker is our Evidence & Engagement Coordinator. With a background in environmental science, research and communications. Georgia currently oversees our comms and media outputs, as well as supporting the Trust’s GIS and project work. Georgia is particularly passionate about sharing her colleague’s conservation and engagement work, as well as the transformative benefit of restoring rivers for human society, from general wellbeing to sustainable water management and learning potential.

Helaina Parkinson

Communication and Engagement Assistant.

Helaina Parkinson is our Communication & Engagement Assistant. With a background in community engagement, running roadshows and events and creative writing. Helaina helps to design and run NRT’s social media and web pages, run events and capture images. She works collaboratively with internal and external members of staff to reach volunteers across Norfolk. Helaina has a particular interest in wildlife that relies on our rivers and surrounding habitats and capturing them on camera. However, she hopes to also gain more experience working on practical conservation tasks such as scything, surveying, and mitigation.

Dr Jonah Tosney

Technical Director

Eel *Coming soon*

Josie Crook

Farm and Land Management Advisor

Josie Crook is our Farm and Land Management Advisor. With a background in ecology, following a BSc in Zoology, as well as experience in stockmanship and horticulture. Josie visits local farmers and landowners and offers advice to improve land management practices including soil and water. With a particular interest in conservation, wildlife and supporting farmers in their transition to a more sustainable future.

Lily Mackie

Senior Project Manager

Lily Mackie is a Senior Project Manager with our trading arm, Rivers Ecology. With a MSc in freshwater management with an expertise in geomorphology. Lily has previously worked within the Rivers Trust delivering a number of projects, including chalk stream restoration, pond creation, natural flood management and wetland design.

Marie-Anne Edwards

Head of Finance

Having run her own business for a number of years, Marie-Anne started working for the Norfolk Rivers Trust over 10 years ago and is now Head of Finance, managing funds for all projects.

Nathalie Dagg

River Restoration Project Officer

20211129_144742 Nathalie Dagg is our River Restoration Project Officer. With a background in flood and water management, as well as erosion protection and adaptation projects on the north Norfolk coastline. Nathalie works in the Stiffkey catchment, planning and delivering river restoration projects. She has a particular interest in treatment wetlands and supervision of project delivery works. Nathalie has a dumper licence and is working towards brush cutter and chainsaw tickets.

Rebecca Banks

Senior Project Officer

Crayfish *Coming soon*

Sam Hurst

Farming & Land Management Team Leader

( Sam Hurst is our Farming and Land Management Team Leader. With a background in water sensitive farm advice, environmental regulation, and catchment appraisal. Sam manages our team of farm advisors to deliver a range of projects with corporate partners that support sustainable food production, healthy soils, and clean and plentiful water. He has a particular interest in riparian land management, ‘regenerative farming’ practices, and old maps. Sam is a FACTS qualified advisor, CIWEM member and village cricket enthusiast.

Sharon Reeves

River Restoration Project Officer

River Sharon Reeves is our River Restoration Project Officer. With a background in education, conservation and river restoration. Currently, Sharon is creating a catchment restoration delivery plan for the Rivers Lark and Wissey. She has a particular interest discovering conservation following a career change, Sharon is passionate about learning anything and everything to help restore clean, accessible rivers with an abundance of diverse wildlife.

Stephen Walker

Nature Based Solutions Officer

Stephen Walker is our Nature Based Solutions Officer. With a background in farming, practical habitat management and agricultural research. Stephen is co-ordinating the ‘Riverscapes East Anglia’ project, which focuses on Natural Flood Management by utilising Nature-based Solutions. He also assists with the delivery of ‘Water Sensitive Farming’ projects to improve water quality and quantity, as well as soil health and on-farm biodiversity. Stephen enjoys implementing sustainable farming practices that enhance the natural environment, whilst providing quality produce and maintaining yields.

Steve Hendry

Assistant Project Officer

Steve is our Assistant Project Officer. With a background in architectural design, cabinet making and years of volunteering with local conservation groups. His current role includes water quality testing, GIS mapping and assisting project officers. Steve is particularly interested in river restoration design.

Tim Fisher

Volunteer and Engagement Officer

River Tim Fisher is our Volunteer and Engagement Officer. With a background in landscape archaeology, practical coastal management, outdoor environmental education, and primary school teaching. Tim co-ordinates the volunteer programme, planning and leading tasks which help Norfolk Rivers Trust to deliver natural flood management and catchment restoration projects across the county, as well as helping to develop and run engagement events throughout the year. He has a particular interest in linking communities with nearby nature recovery projects and the wider landscape.

Ursula Juta

Senior Project Officer

Ursula Ursula Juta is our Senior Project Officer. With a background in ecology, conservation and outdoor education. Ursula is a multi-skilled team member, coordinating river restoration projects, delivering educational programmes in schools and undertaking water vole surveys and mitigation. She holds both a white-clawed crayfish and beaver license. Ursula has a particular interest in restoration ecology and how keystone species can influence a whole food chain.

Zac Battams

Operations Director

During Zac Battams is our Head of Operations. With a background bias towards aquatic ecology, catchment water resource management and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Zac leads on the day-to-day running and organisation of the Trust, and believes holistic thinking is required to achieve the most ambitious positive outcomes for Norfolk’s rivers, and collaborative working is essential for making change at scale. He has a particular interest in wild trout and exploring opportunities to protect and enhance the rivers of Norfolk where they can often be found. Zac has a keen eye for siting nature-based solutions and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty to support colleagues in delivering on-ground work.


The trust is run by a committee of trustees with a broad range of expertise in conservation, land management, charitable trust, legal and business administration, compliance and accountancy and PR.

Dr Geoff Brighty - Chairman

Dr Geoff Brighty is Chairman of Norfolk Rivers Trust and has been a Trustee since 2014. Geoff is a published research scientist and has had a career to Area Director level with the Environment Agency including operations, sustainable communities, and ecotoxicology, leading to investigations on endocrine disruption in UK’s fish populations. More recently, he was Technical Director at the UKs first plastic pollution charity, Plastic Oceans, and was special advisor to its film A Plastic Ocean. Following 9 years leading his sustainability consultancy, he is now Chief Sustainability Officer at advanced recycling company, Mura Technology.

Ben Steward

Ben qualified in Land Agency before working within a large national commercial property team. He subsequently worked as a market leader in the regeneration of brownfield land and later as managing partner in a local Commercial Agency. Ben will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team.

Nigel Savory

Nigel Savory is a chartered accountant and, until he retired in 2014, was a partner in Grant Thornton and its predecessor firm in Norwich, KPMG. He specialised in commercial, agricultural and private client work. He is now chairman of AF, the country’s largest co-operative that purchases inputs and supplies for farmers. He is also chairman of RC Snelling and the Snellings Group, a director of Barratt & Cooke; Colleague Software and; Fakenham Racecourse. He is a trustee of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, Music in Country Churches and The Lady Hind Charitable Trust. Nigel was High Sheriff of Norfolk in 2006/7 and is a Deputy Lieutenant. He lives at Thorpland, near Fakenham and is a partner in the family farming business. The River Stiffkey runs through the farm.

Dr Richard Cooper

Richard is a Lecturer in the School of Environmental Sciences, specialising in a wide variety of catchment science research. He has most recently worked on the DEFRA-funded ‘River Wensum Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC)’ project. This aimed to evaluate the extent to which on-farm mitigation measures could cost-effectively reduce the impact of agricultural pollution on river ecology, whilst maintaining food production capacity. Richard's research has included work on nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment, pesticides, biobeds, cover crops, reduced tillage regimes, indirect nitrous oxide emissions, invasive signal crayfish, integrated constructed wetlands, sediment fingerprinting and dendroclimatology.

Tom Deards

Tom is the Legal & Governance Director of the Canal & River Trust. His role involves leading a legal team that covers a huge diversity of areas including environment and planning law, property law, public and charity law, specialist waterway law (navigation, boat licensing, riparian duties and rights etc.), as well as a governance team which coordinates the Board of Trustees, Council of Members and other stakeholder groups. Tom also oversees wider compliance and assurance in respect of data protection, safeguarding, sustainability, equality and diversity, health and safety and risk management.

Rob Cooke

Rob is a Director at Natural England. He has worked in the environmental sector for over 35 years in both policy implementation and operational roles. Rob’s roles have seen him lead teams providing expert advice in both the marine and terrestrial environments, which includes nature conservation, access, and landscape. Previously Rob has worked on Agricultural policy implementation, biodiversity and wider environmental legislation, site designation, landscape-scale delivery, and sustainable development issues. Rob’s current role is Director for Legislative Reform where he stands over Natural England’s advice to Government on Designated Sites strategy, Retained EU Law, and Regulatory reform in general.

Kerry Foster

Kerry is an experienced leader, and has worked across the environmental, cultural and tourism sectors for over 25 years in both exec and non-exec roles. Her previous experience includes leadership roles at The British Museum, London Transport Museum, and the National Trust. Kerry has most recently been working as a consultant, supporting charitable and commercial organisations in the sector by providing them with interim senior leadership support, coaching, change management expertise, and leading strategic and project assignments. She has a passion for nature conservation.

Our Partners

We recognise that meeting the conservation challenge requires a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach, bridging political and social realms and engaging relevant partners, as well as the general public.

Our partners include:

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