New Chair for the Coastal Forum!

The North West Coastal Forum is pleased to announce that Professor Ann Worsley has been elected to Chair the Forum from April 2012 – 2014. She succeeds Graham Lymberyof Sefton Council who is to be commended for leading the Forum safely through the sometimes stormy waters of major changes in the region and corresponding changes for the Forum.

Professor Worsley is a Chartered Geographer with an impressive academic background, graduating from and obtaining her doctorate at University of Liverpool where she became a research fellow and going on to lecture at Edge Hill University, where she was awarded a personal chair in ‘Environmental Change’ in 2009. She is also an Honorary Professor, University of Exeterand Visiting Professor, University of Liverpool. In December 2011, she joined Strata Environmental as a consultant.

She is a member of several internationally recognised geographical societies, an elected board member of the International Society for Geochemistry & Health, an advisor on several national and international groups, a member of the UK Resource Centre for Science, Engineering & Technology for women and the United States’ Graduate Women in Science. She has also acted as a reviewer for the Royal Geographical Society, The Royal Society and the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Her particular research interests lie in the relationships between people and their environments, their impacts on each other and their mutual interdependency. Here in theNorth West she has worked on the long and short term changing nature of coastal environments, the impacts of human on coasts and the implications of and adaptation to current global climate change within coastal zones. In 2005 she appeared on the BBC programme ‘Coast’, alongside Gordon Roberts of the National Trust. The programme featured the prehistoric footprints on Formby beach. Professor Worsely’s part in the investigative work was to help reconstruct the local environment through a forensic examination of the sediments and organic remains held within the deposits.

She also has experience of coastal partnership work, being involved with the Sefton Coast Partnership since its inception in 2000 and serving on both the Sefton Coast Partnership Board and on the Research Task Group.

Professor Worsley takes over at an exciting time for the Forum as we move towards delivery of our biggest biennial conference yet. Delivering Sustainable Coasts on 18th and 19th September, which she will chair, is also the final conference of the international SUSTAIN project.

On her appointment as Chair Professor Worsley said:

“Coastal zones are amongst the most important areas on our planet, not least because they are where many of us work and live, but also because they are so reactive to changes in climate and human activity. As we enter a period of considerable natural change, the work of the North West Coastal Forum becomes even more important.  Interactions between people and coast are critical; coasts both provide for, and respond to, what we do, generating enormous challenges for coastal professionals, practitioners, end-users and academics in terms of management, knowledge-sharing and planning for the future. The future is uncertain; energy requirements are growing, the demand for economic stability is very clear and the need for coastal communities to work together is essential. The scientific evidence for global climate change is clear, with coastal communities at the interface between climate, ocean and terrestrial environmental interactions. This makes the sharing of scientific understanding alongside and in partnership with the wealth of local knowledge and expertise absolutely vital. As someone who is deeply passionate about coasts, mindful of the challenges of global climate change but at the same time, keen to ensure the continuation of the process of sharing knowledge and understanding for which the North West Coastal Forum is well known, I look forward to supporting the work of the Board.

To date the North West Coastal Forum has been very active in bringing together key stakeholders to explore ways in which such knowledge and understanding may be shared, and it has also explored the potential impacts of climate change in its work on adaptation and mitigation. To continue this excellent work is essential and together the Forum will strive to ensure this happens; not only will this help to secure long term security for our coasts but it will also broaden the influence of the partnership and of partners across the UK. Key initiatives include the conference later this year, but I would also like to strengthen the bonds between partners and academic/research institutions, seek out new funding initiatives and set our coastal communities at the heart of coastal science.”