The Board is appointed by Scottish Ministers and comprises a chairman and ten members, including the Chief Executive



SEPA Chairman
David Sigsworth


David Sigsworth took up office as Chairman of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency on 1 January 2008.  Since that time David has been influential in driving changes in the way SEPA delivers its environmental services.  The organisation is now spearheading improved approaches to better regulation and environmental science whilst implementing financial efficiencies.


A Chartered Electrical Engineer by profession, David is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an Honorary Professor at the University of Dundee. David was presented with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honaris causa, from the University of Dundee in June 2014.


David was appointed Chairman, Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum in September 2011, and Chairman of the Scottish Energy Technology Partnership Industry Advisory Group in September 2013.   He served on the Scottish Government’s Expert Commission on Energy Regulation from July 2013 – July 2014, and became a member of the 2020 Climate Group in July 2014.


David also undertakes a range of non-executive roles and is Chairman of Sigma Capital Group plc, Chairman, SeaEnergy plc, Chairman, Dundee Science Centre, and also Chairman, the Offshore Renewables Institute Advisory Board since January 2014.  He is also Vice President of the Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) and a Trustee of the Think Tank Sustainability First. 


Before joining SEPA, David’s career spanned 43 years in the utility sector. He held several positions on the Board of Scottish and Southern Energy plc (SSE) and had previously been Commercial Director of Scottish Hydro Electric plc since 1995.


 SEPA Chairman, David Sigsworth

James Curran, Chief Executive, Scottish Environment Protection Agency MBE

James Curran has worked in environmental science and environmental regulation for 30 years. He has undertaken studies in hydrometeorology, numerical modelling of dispersion in marine waters, and water resources management as well as a spell of direct regulatory enforcement with agricultural and industrial businesses.


He has been a consultant to the Scottish Office and was for some years the Head of Science with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and then Head of Environmental Strategy.


In 2006 he co-founded and then ran Entrading, the UK's first comprehensive eco-store and cafe in central Glasgow. This was sold a couple of years later and he has taken up a post, again with SEPA, as Director of Science and Strategy. James was awarded an MBE for services to the environment in 2007.




Dr Richard Dixon

After a PhD in Astrophysics, Richard completed an energy and environment MSc at Glasgow Caledonian University. After working for CSV and Strathclyde Regional Council, he was appointed Head of Research at FoE Scotland in 1994.  He worked on issues as diverse as climate change, bathing beaches and fish farming.  He moved to become Head of Policy with WWF Scotland in 2002.  In this role Richard led a 6-strong policy team working on marine, freshwater, climate, education and resource consumption issues. 

Richard became Director of WWF Scotland in July 2005.  Richard helped set up Transform Scotland and has been particularly involved in creating the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition, which pressed for Scotland’s strong climate targets and aims to help deliver them.  In 2011 WWF Scotland won the Great Places to Work award for best charity workplace in Scotland.  In January 2013 Richard became Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, where he continues to work on energy and climate issues, as well as air quality.  He serves on the boards of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and SNIFFER. 

Richard Dixon




Bob Downes

Bob Downes (DipTP, M Phil) runs an investment and advisory services business.  He is also a non executive Director of Care Visions Group; a Governor of the Glasgow School of Art; and a member of the Glasgow University Business School and Scotrail Advisory Boards.  Until September 2011 Bob was a senior Executive Director Network with Openreach (part of BT Group) which delivers installation and maintenance services, providing the 'first mile' of network services to home and businesses.


Bob was with the BT group since 1999 and has been Director BT Scotland and Director BT Regions.  Prior to BT he was a Director in Scottish Enterprise and also a Director of Conran Roche, a London based consultancy.


He has served on the Sir Patrick Carter Review on PAYE for Small Businesses for the UK Treasury; as a board member of International Council for Urban Development (Washington DC) and has advised or been a board member of a wide range of voluntary organisations including the Wise Group of Glasgow, Ulster Community Investment Trust (a community bank), the Flax Trust in Belfast, and the Scottish Ensemble.


He is a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and the Open University.

 SEPA Board Member, Bob Downes

Michelle Francis
Appointed January 2014


Michelle is qualified to MSc level in Environmental Science and has worked as an environment and sustainability professional for 20 years in both the public and private sectors. 


Within businesses she has advised on environmental and sustainability management, having been Head of Environment at Network Rail for 6 years, covering the whole of the UK, and prior to that Environment Manager for Railtrack in Scotland.  Michelle established herself in consultancy in Scotland in 2004 and has for 10 years been providing advice on strategic sustainability and environmental management for a variety of clients across the UK.  She served as an SNH Board Member for 6 years from 2005-2011. 


Michelle is currently Director and owner of Sustainability Catalyst Ltd, a small sustainability and environmental consultancy practice operating largely in the transport sector.  Recent assignments include advising on sustainability issues for a large infrastructure project and leading the sustainability submission for rail franchise bids.


Michelle holds no other ministerial appointments.




Michelle Francis, Agency Board Member

Dr Jackie Hyland
Appointed January 2014


Jackie qualified in medicine at Edinburgh University and holds a position as a Consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Tayside. Jackie has a strong track record in environmental protection within the health sector, providing health advice to partner agencies and communities. She tutors at two leading Scottish universities and has published on environmental health management.


As Chair of the Scottish Sustainable Health Network she has been closely involved in reviewing the evidence for improving health through sustainable development. She is currently preparing a thesis on air quality and health.


Jackie Hyland, Agency Board member
Nick Martin

Appointed January 2014


Nick Martin was Head of Corporate Development at The Weir Group PLC, a leading global manufacturer of engineered equipment for the natural resources and power generation sectors.  Nick led the Corporate Development function at Weir, implementing a strategy of business acquisition and divestment, in a decade of transformation that saw the market value of the group increase eightfold – to become Scotland’s largest industrial company.  A chemistry graduate, Nick has extensive international business experience, having lived and worked in France, the Netherlands and Germany and executed acquisition and joint venture projects in over 15 countries.


Nick Martin, Agency Board Member

Trisha McAuley OBE

Appointed January 2014


Trisha McAuley OBE was latterly the Director for Scotland of Consumer Futures, formerly Consumer Focus Scotland. She has nearly twenty years of experience in developing consumer policy and in advising government, regulators, service providers and businesses on how best to engage with, and take account of the needs of, consumers and communities in Scotland, particularly those who are most disadvantaged or vulnerable.  She has a strong record of working with stakeholders in Scotland and the UK, of playing a key role in building policy consensus, and of operating in challenging regulatory policy environments. She brings to the Board a combination of expertise in consumer affairs, stakeholder engagement, policy development, regulated industries and strategic business and change management. Added to this is Trisha’s previous experience as the lead for consumer advocacy in the water industry in Scotland and her prior career in the NHS, leading to particular knowledge of and interest in Scotland’s water environment and also the impact of the environment on public health. Trisha is also a Non-Executive Director of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.  Trisha was awarded an OBE for services to consumer affairs in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list.

Trisha McAuley, Agency Board Member

Professor Bill McKelvey OBE

Bill McKelvey was Chief Executive and Principal of the Scottish Agricultural College for ten years until early 2012. He now holds a number of Non Executive roles including membership of the Scottish Food Advisory Committee and of the Court of the University of the Highlands and Islands. He has also recently been appointed as Vice Chairman of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Northern Ireland.


He holds a first class honours degree in veterinary science from the University of Glasgow, a postgraduate diploma from the University of Guelph, Canada, and a PhD from the University of Aberdeen. He is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies, serves as a member of the Veterinary Policy Group of the British Veterinary Association, and is a member of the Governance Review Group of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.


In May 2011, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, in recognition of his contribution to science, and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours (June 2011), for services to agriculture.

William McKelvey

Professor Keith Nicholson

Keith Nicholson ( PhD, CChem, CISA, CISM, MIoD, FAAG, FRSC) is an internationally recognised scientist and award-winning company director with over 30 years’ experience in environmental surveys and data modelling on energy and environment systems.  As a chartered chemist and chemistry professor working on environmental and energy systems he has worked in universities in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Denmark and Scotland until he decided to move full time into consultancy.


As CEO Keith founded and managed several firms including EnviroSurveys (NZ) and The TP Group, which was a first-mover into eCommerce, and has held Directorships in a range of environmental and technology firms.  He has acted as a scientific advisor to past governments in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and, as Fellow of the RSC, UK MPs, specialising in environmental forensics and impact analysis.  He is presently a specialist consultant providing strategic advisory services in cybersecurity, technology and business development and is a Board Member of Scottish Natural Heritage.

Keith Nicholson

Dr Lesley Sawers

Lesley Sawers took up the position of Vice Principal and Pro Vice Chancellor for Business Development at Glasgow Caledonian University on 1 July 2013.  She had been the Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), a position she took up in March 2008. She joined from the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce where she was Chief Executive.


She has also held a number of Board and non-executive appointments across a range of public, private and voluntary sector organisations including VisitScotland, Event Scotland, Royal Mail Group, Business Club Scotland, Action for Children and Scottish Power.


She has a degree in economics from Glasgow University and a PhD from the Institute of Retail Studies in Stirling University. 

Lesley Sawers