I have lived in Ashtead for 16 years, with my wife, Patricia Wiltshire (also an Ashtead Independent Councillor). I have come to value the village atmosphere, community spirit, and variety of social activities. Having so enjoyed and benefitted from my time in the village, I am pleased to be actively involved in helping to address issues of concern to residents, and striving to preserve and promote all we value in Ashtead.
Born in Sheffield, after grammar school and university education, I became a research scientist working on diverse fungi. I served 14 years as Director of an intergovernmental scientific institute based at Kew, and then Egham. Before moving to Ashtead, I worked with a local authority in North London, successfully addressing land use issues of public concern. Now semi-retired, I am still active in research and editing, and particularly concerned with the diversity of living things, their conservation, relationship to the environment, and effects of pollutants. I am also involved in forensic work as an expert witness in both criminal and civil cases, along with my wife, and have honorary positions in several universities and at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and The Natural History Museum London. I have been president of various national and international scientific organizations, served on the Council of English Nature (now Natural England), and was appointed CBE for services to science in 1996.
I was previously a member of the Ashtead Residents’ Association Standing Committee, and as a member of Ashtead Community Vision, my wife and I undertook a review of our entire Green Belt, in connection with the preparation of our Neighbourhood Development Plan. I initiated Ashtead’s system of voluntary tree wardens, and have served as Chair of St Stephen’s House Surgery Patients’ Participation Group. I am currently a Trustee and Editor of the Leatherhead and District Local History Society.
I have been an Ashtead Independent Councillor since 2016, and served on the Council’s Cabinet in 2018-19 with responsibility for well-being. In that role I was involved in action to prevent unauthorized encampments on Council land and the establishment of the Joint Enforcement Team. In 2023 my pressure for the establishment of a local list of non-designated heritage assets became a reality and several additional features of Ashtead have now been accorded that status in conjunction with Surrey County Council.