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Our Advisors

Michael Holgate

Michael is an independent energy consultant with over 25 years’ experience in the oil, renewable energy and carbon management sectors. While based in the Orkney Islands, he spent 15 years working offshore as a drilling fluids consultant. During his time onshore he had a unique opportunity to see how oil development affected a small island community at first hand. He went on to broaden his environmental skills in the oil & gas sector working in advisory and management roles for international oil & gas projects for clients including Shell, BP, Agip, the Georgian Government and the EU INOGATE program.  Over the last decade, he has also worked extensively in the renewable energy sector on wind, wave, tidal and community projects. He is a former chair of the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum.  His interest in shale gas started with a review for 3 Legs Resources of the environmental and social risks. He has subsequently written and presented his views on the responsible development of shale gas in a number of fora including Poland and Lithuania at the invitation of government.

Professor Sarah O'Hara

Professor Sarah O`Hara is Pro-Vice Chancellor and Professor of Geography at the University of Nottingham, where she is currently co-director of the University of Nottingham Shale Gas Survey which explores public perceptions of shale Gas extraction in the UK. She holds a BSc in Physical Geography and Geology (Liverpool), an MSc in Geomorphology (Alberta) and a D.Phil in Palaeolimnology (Oxford). Among her published research are papers on recent and long-term environmental change in North America, North Africa, and the  Middle East,  resources management in Central Asia, and the  global market implications of 'dash for gas'.

Professor Alan Riley

Professor and Director of the LLM Programme at The City Law School, City University of London Alan Riley is one of the leading competition law scholars in the United Kingdom. He co-founded and chairs the Europe-wide Competition Law Scholars Forum and is co-editor of the Competition Law Review. He also specialises in energy law, particularly in relation to the market and strategic questions in relation to pipeline gas and LNG. In the energy field, he is researching a number of questions concerning market liberalization, and market regulation in both the Russian and European Union gas markets.

Stephen Tindale

Stephen Tindale is a research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, working mainly on energy and climate policy but also on the EU budget. He also runs the website Climate Answers (www.climateanswers.info), which tries to present information on climate issues in an accessible way, and to identify what should be supported rather than simply what should be opposed, as most NGOs do. He is co-author, with Prashant Vaze, of the book "Repowering commmunties: Small scale solutions to large scale problems" (Earthscan, June 2011), about the role that local government, co-operatives and community organisations play on energy supply and energy efficiency in Europe and North America. Stephen has recently become a Visiting Research Fellow at the King’s College London Policy Institute. Previous roles have included: Head of Communications and Public Affairs for RWE npower renewables; Executive Director of Greenpeace UK and Chairman of the Greenpeace European Unit; adviser to Environment Minister Michael Meacher; founder of IPPR Environment Group; adviser to Shadow Environment Secretary Chris Smith, diplomat at UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Dr Rob Ward

Dr Rob Ward joined the British Geological Survey as Head of Groundwater Science in 2010 before being appointed Science Director in 2013. He is a hydrogeologist with over 25 years’ experience working in both groundwater science and environmental regulation. Prior to 2010 he was a Senior Technical Advisor at the Environment Agency and was responsible for delivering the groundwater elements of the European Water Framework Directive for the first River Basin Management Plans and supporting UK Government during negotiations on the Groundwater Directive. He was also responsible for designing and managing the national groundwater quality monitoring programme. Rob continues to support the European Commission as Science-Policy-Interface correspondent and through membership of its expert advisory group on groundwater (WG C). Rob holds a PhD in Hydrogeology and Environmental Radiochemistry awarded by the University of East Anglia. He was appointed Honary Professor at the University of Nottingham last year.

James Taylor (until September 2015)

James is senior associate at international law firm Simmons & Simmons. He has a very broad Environment, Planning and Health and Safety practice and often advises on regulatory and potentially contentious issues that could give rise to significant liability and reputational impacts. He works in all aspects of energy development  and recently led on the Development Consent Order and related matters for one of the UK’s largest proposed Combined Heat and Power generating stations and related grid connection. He has advises on upstream work such as UK offshore licensing and decommissioning requirements and on investments into Canadian shale.  He has also advised on the planning and regulatory aspects for many renewables energy projects ranging from over 1GW of ground mounted solar through to the purchase of a significant stake in the London Array off-shore wind farm.  He frequently advises on permitted activities such as Energy from Waste and nuclear development and is often called to advise in relation to contaminated land having recently helped develop the liability and monitoring regime for one of the UK’s largest brownfield redevelopment opportunities.  He has written and presented on shale regulation for several years and he is a trustee and vice chair of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association.