Dr. Robert Willows

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Robert previously led on the development of the Environment Agency’s approach to risk characterisation under the Water Framework Directive and the development of DEFRA’s approach to the designation of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ’s).
Full Name
Dr. Robert Ian Willows
Year of Birth
1957
Nationality
British
Profession
Environmental Risk Assessment
Range of Experience
Dr. Robert Willows’ expertise lies in the design of environmental risk assessments. These have three main purposes: to understand the nature and magnitude of risk, to target actions and resources to better delivery environmental objectives, perhaps through voluntary, regulatory or other mechanisms, and in the evaluation of the effectiveness of existing or prospective environmental policies. Within the Environment Agency Robert led an interdisciplinary team of experts in regional air quality modelling, catchment and agricultural land-use management, water quality modelling and ecological risk assessment. He led on the development of the Environment Agency’s approach to risk characterisation under the Water Framework Directive and the development of DEFRA’s approach to the designation of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ’s). In all this work Robert has promoted innovative uses of multiple sources of evidence, including monitoring data, national datasets, case study findings, appropriate modelling results and statistical analysis.

Robert has broad experience of a range of qualitative, quantitative and modelling techniques. While with Natural Environment Research Council he undertook research in physiological ecology, ecotoxicology and estuarine sediment-biotic interactions and spent time working at Stanford University and a Canadian Fisheries Laboratory in Quebec. He has published over 15 papers in the refereed literature. He has experience of Environmental Tribunals, having represented the Secretary-of-State for the Environment as respondent in seven NVZ appeal before the First Tier Tribunal, and before the President of the First Tier Tribunal in 5 other cases.
Career Summary
  • 2000 - 2014 Risk and Forecasting Science-Evidence-Policy Manager
  • 1998 - 2000 Ecological Risk Assessor, National Centre for Risk Analysis and Options Appraisal, Environment Agency
  • 1991 - 1998 Principal Investigator, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Natural Environment Research Council
  • 1985 – 1989 Shell UK Research Fellow, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Natural Environment Research Council
  • 1989 – 1991 Research Fellow, Institute of Marine Environmental Research, Natural Environment Research Council
  • 1984 – 1985 Research, Information and Statistics Officer, Northampton District, National Health Service
Education
  • 1984 - PhD Population ecology and modelling, University of Leeds
  • 1979 - BA Natural Sciences, Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Professional Affiliation
Fellow, Institute of Environmental Sciences
Recent Work
  • Climate adaptation: Risk, Uncertainty and Decision-making (UKCIP/DEFRA techncial guidance)
  • Environmental scenarios for assessing future water resource strategy
  • Designation of N-Eutrophic lakes under the Nitrates Directive
  • Assessment of point and area-wide source pollution in catchments
  • Effect of agriculture and catchment sensitive farming on the nutrient and chlorophyll status of lakes
  • National trends in nutrient water quality based spatially explicit statistical models of monitoring data
  • Rapid assessment of the risk to headwater river water quality from agriculture sources of phosphorus
Country Experience
UK
Languages
English
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