Nicole Paterson named as next SEPA chief

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has appointed Nicole Paterson as Chief Executive. She is currently Head of Environmental Assets at North Lanarkshire Council.

Paterson will be taking over from Acting Chief Executive Jo Green, who stepped up to the role following the abrupt departure of the previous Chief Executive, Terry A’Hearn in January.

Nicole Paterson, who joins SEPA in October, is an award-winning local government chief officer, with nearly 30 years’ experience across five local authorities, consultancy, and environmental non-executive roles.

Prior to her current role at Lanarkshire, she spent more than 14 years at Stirling Council leading strategic environmental and infrastructure programmes and has worked across West Lothian, East Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute Councils. A chartered civil engineer and University of Strathclyde graduate, she began her local government career as a civil/structural engineer within Argyll & Bute’s roads and transport service.

Commenting on her appointment, she said: “Scotland’s stunning environment, its lochs and its land, are world-renowned, and being trusted to protect them for future generations, while supporting our nation to adapt to a changing climate, is a privilege.  Protecting our environment, inclusion, wellbeing and supporting sustainable growth are not only key to my personal and professional beliefs, they’re at the heart of SEPA’s statutory purpose.   They’re fundamental to SEPA’s One Planet Prosperity strategy and the work that its people deliver each and every day in communities the length and breadth of our country.

“Across my career, from working with the Board of Climate Ready Clyde to Argyll and Bute Council, I’ve been constantly inspired by SEPA’s role in improving Scotland’s environment, its commitment to collaboration and the professionalism and commitment of its people.  Over the coming months I look forward to visiting, meeting with and listening to people, partners and stakeholders across the country as together we deliver for Scotland’s environment.”

Bob Downes, SEPA Chair said: “I’m delighted that in Nicole, we’ve found an optimistic, energetic leader who’s as passionate about Scotland’s environment, our statutory purpose and delivering modern, effective and essential public services as we are.  But more than that, we’ve found in Nicole an open, supportive and motivational leader committed to collaboration, outcomes, excellence and building an agency reflective of the country we serve.”

He recognised and thanked Jo Green and agency management team colleagues for their leadership following the departure of the previous Chief Executive, delivering an annual operating plan and supporting and empowering delivery and performance.  Jo Green will continue as Acting Chief Executive until Nicole Paterson assumes responsibilities in October.


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