Lancaster University academics appointed to newly created college of environmental experts

Dr Celine Germond-Duret and Professor Nigel Watson
Dr Celine Germond-Duret and Professor Nigel Watson have been appointed to the Office for Environmental Protection's College of Experts

Two Lancaster University academics have been appointed to the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), as members of the newly created College of Experts.

Professor Nigel Watson from Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC), and Dr Celine Germond-Duret, from the Politics, Philosophy and Religion (PPR) department, were chosen through a competitive process to provide expert advice and support to the OEP.

The OEP was established in November 2021 under the Environment Act as a result of Brexit.

The OEP's mission is to protect and improve the environment by holding government and other public authorities to account. It does this by scrutinising environmental plans and targets, examining laws and their implementation, advising government on environmental law and enforcement against failures to comply with environmental law.

The OEP’s work relates primarily to England and Northern Ireland, but also covers reserved matters across the UK where only the UK Parliament in Westminster can make legislation.

Professor Watson, who lectures in Geography and Environmental Management at LEC, said: “This is a great opportunity to get involved with the OEP, to apply some of Lancaster’s research expertise to apply some of Lancaster's research expertise in a direct way to help sure that we can all benefit from an improved and well-protected environment.

“My motivation as an academic has always been to make practical contributions in addition to advancing knowledge and understanding.

“That’s how I first became interested in policy making and the institutional dimensions of environmental management and governance.

“I’m really looking forward to learning from the OEP and interacting with other members of the College, in addition to sharing some of my own experiences and insights from research.”

Dr Germond-Duret, who lectures in Environmental Politics and Policy, said: “Joining the OEP’s College of Experts is an exciting opportunity to share research insights with the OEP and fellow members and have a positive impact on environmental management.

“The College reflects the interdisciplinary thinking needed to address environmental challenges by gathering expertise from a wide range of disciplines, from natural sciences to social sciences and from law to economy.

“My research centres on the social dimension of sustainable development, the questions of justice within blue economies, and the social and political dimensions of the marine environment.

“I am looking forward to sharing my expertise in a field of increasing interest and providing support and advice to the OEP for an enhanced protection of the environment.”

The OEP is a relatively small organisation with less than 100 people, although the remit is very broad, diverse, and challenging.

As such, members of the College of Experts are there to support the OEP by accepting short assignments and offering additional insights, evidence, and opinions.

In total, 58 people were chosen to enable the OEP to fulfil its mission of protecting and improving the environment by holding government and other public bodies to account.

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