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Our Board

Andrew Cassells (Chair)

Andrew has held the position of Director of Environment & Property with Mid Ulster District Council since its inception in April 2015 following local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland.

His public sector career spans some 25 years which has included senior management positions at Belfast City Council, Stirling Council and the former Magherafelt District Council. Whilst Andrew’s council career has predominately focused on the provision of technical services such as Waste Management, Street Cleansing, Grounds, Building and Vehicle Maintenance he has also managed Cemeteries, Roads and Procurement.  Andrew has also worked as an environmental consultant for Jacobs. 

Andrew holds an honours degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and spent fourteen years with British Coal prior to entering local government in 1993. In 2008 Andrew graduated with a master’s degree in Sustainable Development from the University of Stirling. Andrew is a Chartered Environmentalist and a corporate member of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management.

Professor John Barry

John Barry is Professor of Green Political Economy in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queens University Belfast.  His areas of research include green moral and political theory; normative aspects of environmental and sustainable development politics and policy; governance for sustainable development; the greening of citizenship and civic republicanism; green politics in Ireland, North and South; the Transition Movement; peak oil and climate change; the governance of science and innovation; the link between academic knowledge and political activism and policy making; trust, legitimacy and public policy; citizenship, public policy and governance; theories and practices of reconciliation in Northern Ireland.   

His books include, Rethinking Green Politics: Nature, Virtue and Progress, Environment and Social Theory, and Citizenship, Sustainability and Environmental Research. His latest work is The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability: Human Flourishing in a Climate-Changed, Carbon-Constrained World.

John is also a Green Party Councillor on Ards and North Down Borough Council.

Dr Sue Christie

Sue is an ecologist, originally from California and resident in Northern Ireland for the last 33 years.  She has worked within the voluntary environmental sector for most of that time, as Director of the Ulster Wildlife Trust and Project Manager for NI2000 prior to joining Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL) as Director in 1992. She retired from NIEL in 2014 and now works in a voluntary capacity with a number of local charities and groups, especially Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (of which she is Vice-Chairman), Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, Waste Programme Board and the Belfast Food Network.  She concentrates on work promoting the ecosystem services approach to land management (and is a trustee of the Ecosystems Knowledge Network) and resource efficiency and the circular economy through various boards and working groups.  She is starting to work with a local charity to develop the Eco-Schools programme on Madagascar and to promote awareness of Malagasy biodiversity in Northern Ireland schools.

Patricia Mackey

Patricia is an accomplished sustainability specialist with over 15 years’ experience, primarily within the local government sector. She was responsible for the development of the Sustainability Audit Matrix and was a key contributor to the creation of the Sustainability Assessment Tool, both of which have been vital aids to councils in demonstrating their compliance with the Duty for Sustainable Development.

Patricia is a former Executive Director of Sustainable NI before moving to North Down Borough Council in 2013 where she became responsible for sustainability, environmental management and biodiversity. In 2015 she was appointed Community Planning Manager for Ards and North Down Borough Council where she is working hard to integrate the principles of sustainable development throughout the process of community engagement and in the development of the Community Plan.

Gary McFarlane

Director CIEH NI

Gary McFarlane holds a BSc (Hons) degree in environmental health and an MBA, both from Ulster University.

Gary was appointed as the Director for the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) in Northern Ireland in late 2001. As director he is involved in contributing to the development of healthy public policy working with government ministers and departments, local authorities, universities, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

Currently, much of this work seeks to re-establish the critical links between environment and health within the context of sustainable development and public health. This includes advocacy work with policy makers and politicians as well as working with practitioners, academics and researchers to build awareness, understanding and capacity in this area. Gary has authored and contributed to several publications and delivered presentations on these topics at regional, national and international level.

Gary is currently the lead within CIEH on sustainable development issues, including developing the organisation’s own credentials through the introduction of sustainable, strategic management, corporate governance and operations.

Gary is also currently the co-chair of the Public Health Alliance, a board member of Sustainable Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Environment Link (NIEL), and chairs the advisory board to the environmental health undergraduate programme at Ulster University. Gary has also been appointed to the Safe Food Scientific Advisory Committee.

Karen Smyth

Karen Smyth has worked for the Northern Ireland Local Government Association since 2002. She has been Head of Policy since 2008, taking a particular interest in planning. Karen has a background in Environmental Health, working as a local government EHO for ten years prior to taking up her post at NILGA.  Karen is currently a Non-Executive Director of Sustainable NI and the Building Change Trust; she was previously Chair of the Board of Directors for a social enterprise in Belfast.  Karen holds a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Health and a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

Leo Strawbridge

Leo started his career working in the public sector, leading teams in maintenance and energy related projects in a nuclear reprocessing facility. Returning to NI, Leo joined Seagate Technology, during its initial start-up in Derry. He later moved to Derry City and Strabane District Council where he has worked for over ten years, leading teams on council and wider district projects. Leo is the current Chair of the NI Energy Managers’ Forum which develops creative and innovative thinking on energy consumption reduction in the eleven district councils. Leo is also Chair of the Local Government Sustainable Development Forum with a remit to promote and drive the sustainability agenda with local government.

He continues to play a pivotal role within the council, leading teams in energy management, Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations and the annual electricity and gas tender processes for the majority of local councils. Leo is actively involved in the Community Planning process, developing a strategy for the Council area to achieve its goal of a low carbon economy by engaging with the wider community, industry and the public sector.

Leo is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, a Chartered Environmentalist and a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Murray Watt

Murray Watt is a graduate of the Universities of Dundee and Stirling. He has more than two decades of experience in tenant participation and community development; he currently provides advice and support to community and voluntary groups in Belfast. He also undertakes policy and information work for the charity, Supporting Communities NI. Murray has served on the board of Sustainable NI for many years; he is also a Board member of Northern Ireland Environment Link and Community Places. Murray held a public appointment for seven years as a Commissioner on the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

Gillian McKee

Gillian has strategic responsibility for Business in the Community’s Business Engagement programmes in Northern Ireland. Having worked with the organisation since 1998 in a series of Communications and Marketing roles, latterly heading up the Marketing function, in July 2016, she moved to take on new responsibilities as part of an organisational restructure. She now leads on the range of programmes Business in the Community offers for business engagement across the key areas of Environment, Workplace, Community and Education & Jobs, ensuring a holistic, sustainable and integrated offer is available that meets the needs of business and addresses key issues affecting society.

Dr Nuala Flood

Dr. Nuala Flood joined Queens University Belfast as a Lecturer in Architecture in 2014. Prior to this, she was a post-doctoral researcher in the telecommunications department, Trinity College Dublin. In 2014, she completed her PhD in participatory design for sustainable urban development at Trinity College Dublin and in 2004 she received her BArch from University College Dublin. From 2004-2010, she worked in a number of award winning architectural practices, as a registered architect. Her research interests include design and co-design methods, participatory design and participatory urbanism, ecotopian visions, architectural pedagogy, live projects and self-build methods.

Dr Ian Garner

Ian has worked professionally in the field of environmental management for most of his career.  After 20 years working in the chemical industry, based in Cambridge, he moved to Northern Ireland in 2001. He joined WRAP in 2003 to head WRAP’s Northern Ireland delivery for its funders and partners and has established WRAP Northern Ireland as a key resource efficiency delivery body. WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) works with governments, businesses and communities to deliver practical solutions to improve resource efficiency and Ian is WRAP’s main point of contact for the Northern Ireland Government and Northern Ireland Stakeholders.

He has worked in the fields of materials resource management, industrial waste management, environmental management system development, wastewater treatment, contaminated land regeneration, chemical manufacturing and production process research and development.

He has a PhD in Applied Microbiology from the University of Strathclyde and is a Chartered Environmentalist, a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager and a Chartered Biologist.

Dr Aoife Foley

Dr Aoife Foley is a Lecturer and a Principle Investigator in the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering in Queen's University Belfast. She is Editor in Chief of Elsevier’s Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews (2017) and is a member of the Editorial Panel of the Institution of Civil Engineers Proceedings in Transport. Aoife is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of Engineers Ireland and a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Authority and a member of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society (VTS) and Power Energy Society (PES). She has a BE(Hons) (1996) and a PhD (2011) from University College Cork and an MSc (1999) from Trinity College Dublin. Dr Foley returned to full-time academia in 2009 after 12 years in industry. During her time in industry, she worked principally on energy, transport and waste infrastructure projects. Her unique interdisciplinary background in civil, transport and energy engineering with her industry and academic experience in electrical and mechanical engineering gives her a special understanding and knowledge of the complex interactions between the technical, social and economic challenges to energy technology deployment in real world environments. She is a recognised expert in renewable energy forecasting and energy systems integration. Her multidisciplinary research activities are contained within the Intelligent Control (EPIC) research cluster in the School of Electronic, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Energy Power, the Risk and Inequality group in the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics and in the Bryden Centre for Advanced Marine and Bio-Energy in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

Dr Elizabeth Mitchell, OBE

Elizabeth graduated in medicine with Second Class Honours from Queen's University Belfast in 1980. Following four years working in hospital medicine in Northern Ireland, she undertook higher medical training in public health medicine in England. She returned to Northern Ireland in 1990. Her career in public health spanned over 30 years and she worked at senior level in the public sector for over 26 years, including 7 years as Deputy Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health. She also worked at the Institute of Public Health in Ireland. She retired at the end of 2016. She is a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh) and a Member of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, of the Royal College of Physicians Ireland. 

She was appointed OBE in 2017 for services to public health.

Adrian Davis

Adrian runs AD Sustainability, a CSR and environmental consultancy based in Larne. 

He has over 20 years sustainability experience working in several private and public sector organisations including Seagate Technology, FG Wilson, Bombardier, AES, Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

His consultancy advises and supports private and public sector clients in areas including management systems, resource efficiency, waste management, environmental permitting compliance, policy and strategy development and implementation, energy and carbon management and sustainable procurement.

He is a full member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and a Chartered Environmentalist. He is an approved NEBOSH environmental trainer and holds a BSc Hons in Environmental Technology and a MSc in Management and Corporate Governance.