National Planning Summit

Alan Law

Deputy Chief Executive
Natural England

Alan is Deputy Chief Executive of Natural England, the Government’s wildlife advisor. His career in nature conservation has seen him occupy a range of specialist, operational delivery and conservation strategy roles. Together these provide a respectful perspective of this country’s past conservation achievements as well as a clear vision of the changes we need to make our conservation future one that will prove as memorable. Alan has worked in practical conservation for 25 years, following studies in Zoology and Environmental Impact Assessment.  Having started at WWT Martin Mere in the early 1990ies, Alan joined English Nature, later setting up the first UK Biodiversity Programme overseeing the development of UK priority habitat and species lists and action plans.  He then provided operational leadership across South East England for many years; highlights include the Thames Basin Heaths programme and designation of the South Downs National Park. Alan then overhauled Natural England’s systems for engaging with the planning system and delivering statutory advice, setting standards for case handling, securing conservation measures in the National Planning Policy Framework and introducing a range of new commercial services.  Subsequently he ran England’s marine designation programme, delivering the first tranche of Marine Conservation Zones as part of establishing the Blue Belt. More recently, Alan has been the architect of Natural England’s conservation strategy, C21, which sets out ambitious plans to fundamentally change the way nature conservation is practised; working at a larger scale, securing lasting benefits, and putting people at the very heart of conservation.  This strategy, and subsequent practical reforms which are derived from it, continue to drive Alan in his thinking and working ambitions. Alan has two young sons and lives in Oxfordshire with his partner Jen and their dog. If he got the chance, he would enjoy more of any (and preferably all) of the following: village cricket, walking, skiing, racket sports, running, travel, socialising and good food.