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Living with Floods: The Future of Our Land

  • Saturday 11 June 2016, 2.00PM to 3.30pm
  • Free admission
    Booking required
  • Ron Cooke Hub, University of York (map|getting to campus)

Event details


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The risk of flooding is something which is becoming part of many people’s everyday lives. How can we better manage these flood risks? And how can farmers make sustainable changes to combat threats from extreme weather?

Sue Hartley, Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute at the University of York and President of the British Ecological Society, will deliver the keynote address. This will be followed by a panel debate. Speakers include:

  • Colin Brown, Environment Department, University of York
  • David Dangerfield, Director of Operational Services for Flood and Coastal Risk Management, Environment Agency
  • Howard Forster, Northern Gas Networks
  • Acting Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, North Yorkshire Police
  • David Raffaelli, Environment Department, University of York (Chair)

About the speakers

Sue Hartley is a Professor of Ecology at the University of York and Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute. A fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and President of the British Ecological Society, she is also the Academic Lead for the N8 Research Partnership AgriFood Resilience Programme. Sue’s research focuses on using natural plant defences as a sustainable means of crop protection.

She has a Biochemistry degree from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Ecology from the University of York. She joined the University of Sussex in 2001, and moved to York In 2010 as Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute. This innovative research partnership brings together leading researchers from a broad range of disciplines to tackle key global challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and threats to food security. She is member of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Strategic Advisory Panel on Agriculture and Food Security and Chair of the BBSRC/Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)/Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Sustainable Agriculture Research Innovation Club.

Professor Colin Brown was appointed to a chair in the University of York’s Environment Department in September 2004 and was Head of Department from 2010 to 2015. He has more than 20 years' experience of research into the fate and effects of organic contaminants in the environment and was previously Head of the Centre for EcoChemistry at Cranfield University. Colin has advised UK Government on the environmental fate and behaviour of pesticides through membership of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides and chairing its Environmental Panel. He has chaired a European working group on Environmental Risk Assessment, and the BioResources Group of the Society of Chemical Industry. He is currently a member of the Environmental Panel of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides, a member of the Research Advisory Group to Defra’s Demonstration Test Catchment Programme and he chairs the conference on Pesticide Behaviour in Soils, Water and Air held every four years in York.


David joined the Environment Agency in 2009 as Director of the Yorkshire and North East Region. He He was responsible for the Agency's regulatory and operational activities across an area stretching from the Scottish Border to the Humber.  In 2014 he was appointed Operations Director with responsibility for National Flood and Coastal Risk Management Services.


David Dangerfield is the Environment Agency's Director of Operations, National Flood & Coastal Risk Management Services.

David is a member of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management. David is also a member of the Yorkshire & Humber Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committee for Yorkshire and the Humber.

Howard Forster is Customer Operations Director at Northern Gas Networks, which supplies gas to around 2.7m households and businesses. Howard took up this role in April 2011. He has more than 25 years’ experience in construction related industries and was previously a Partner at EC Harris, an international built asset consultancy. His experience includes operational management, planning, project and change management roles across sectors, including healthcare and utility industries.

Tim Madgwick joined North Yorkshire Police in 1988 at the age of thirty, after careers in both education and private business. He served in York as a Constable, Sergeant and Inspector. In this latter role he was in charge of the City Centre and played a significant role in North Yorkshire Police's response to the major flooding that affected the city in 2000.

Professor David Raffaelli was appointed to a chair in the University of York’s Environment Department in February 2001 and was Head of Department between 2004 and 2010. Dave is also Director of UKPopNet, a collaborative Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Centre, focused on science for sustainable landscapes and livelihoods and he has recently finished a five-year period as Director of the NERC DIVERSITAS international, inter-disciplinary project office bioSUSTAINABILITY, concerned with developing the science of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, in particular exploring the science-policy interface.

Dave has worked extensively on the relationships between biodiversity, and ecosystem services and functioning, funded mainly by NERC and Defra, is a member of the Global Biodiversity Sub-Committee of the GECC, and has served on several UKBRAG working groups. His work with NERC includes a Board Member of NERC Science and Innovation Strategy Board (SISB), Chair of NERC’s Services & Facilities Review Group. In recent years he has been a journal Editor (Journal of Animal Ecology), Council Member and Vice-President of the British Ecological Society. He is Director of the Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) NERC research programme, supported by the Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which is designed to answer fundamental questions about the functional role of biodiversity in key ecosystem processes and the delivery of ecosystem processes at the landscape scale.


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