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


Bob Downes - Chairman


Bob Downes took up the role of SEPA Chair in January 2016. He is deeply committed to the role of technology in improving our society and believes there are significant benefits for our environment and prosperity. He is also Chair of Global Surface Intelligence, a data analytics business and CENSIS, an innovation centre for sensors and imaging systems. 

In addition, Bob is a Non-Executive Director with the Scottish Government as well as KUBE Networks, a digital services business. After many years with the Scottish Ensemble Bob recently joined the board of Cryptic, an innovative arts production house. He is a Trustee of the Mackintosh Campus Renewal Appeal for Glasgow School of Art and an Advisory Member of the Adam Smith Business School at Glasgow University. 

Formerly Bob was a Senior Executive with BT Group, Scottish Enterprise and the Conran-Roche Group in London.

Terry A'Hearn - SEPA Chief Executive

Terry has over twenty years’ experience in the environment profession, having held senior roles in Melbourne with the Environment Protection Authority in the Australian state of Victoria, in London with the global consulting firm WSP and, most recently, in Belfast as Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency before he joined SEPA.  In all this work, Terry has strongly focussed on bringing environmental and economic aims together, supporting business and social innovation and getting tougher with the worst environmental performers.  Terry is a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Footprint Network and a Fellow of the UK Institute of Directors.

Franceska van Dijk

Fran helps companies to become more effective sustainability leaders and to manage risk and opportunity to build lasting value. She is a partner at sustainability consultancy One Stone Advisors Ltd, a founding B Corp, and is part of a team rolling out the B Corp concept in Scotland. Fran was a Research Manager at ENDS Carbon and a senior consultant at SustainAbility Ltd.

Fran holds an MA in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and an MA in Environmental Management from the European Association for Environmental Management Education. She served on the board of the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute from 2004-2011.

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.

Michelle Francis

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.

Martin Hill

Martin Hill  is a retired health service senior manager and former NHS Trust Chief Executive, currently working as a freelance management consultant with particular interests and experience in strategic planning, programme management and executive coaching. He is also currently the Scottish Secretary of the Institute of Healthcare Management and a Non-executive Member on the Boards of NHS Lothian and the West Lothian Integration Joint Board. 

He holds a First Class Honours Degree in Social Sciences (Geography), with particular relevance to climate change and sustainable development. He also holds the Diploma of the Institute of Healthcare Management and is a Companion of the Institute.

Dr Jackie Hyland

Jackie qualified in medicine at Edinburgh University and holds a positions as a Consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Tayside and as an Agency Board Member for Scottish Natural Heritage. Jackie has a strong track record in environmental protection and promotion of biodiversity within the health sector, providing health advice to partner agencies and communities. She tutors at Dundee University and has published on environmental health management and engagement with stakeholders. 

As a member of the Scottish Managed Sustainable Health Network she has been closely involved in reviewing the evidence for improving health through sustainable development. She is currently preparing a thesis at St Andrews University focussing on air quality and health, and the socioeconomic benefits of active travel.

Nick Martin

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.

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.

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 Chief Executive of Cyber Security Scotland. . 

Keith has been appointed as Chair of Revenue Scotland from 1 August 2015.  Dr Nicholson has acted as Chair of Revenue Scotland since Revenue Scotland was established as an independent body on 1 January 2015 and has successfully overseen preparations for the collection of Scotland's devolved taxes.

Dr Lesley Sawers

Professor Lesley Sawers is an Honorary Professor with Glasgow Caledonian University. She is also Executive Chair of tech start-up GenAnalytics Ltd, having stepped down as Vice Principal and Pro Vice Chancellor for Business Development, Innovation and Enterprise at Glasgow Caledonian University in September 2015. Previously she was 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, having previously held a number of senior executive positions in the private sector.

She is also a Trustee of Glasgow Life and a non-executive director with Glasgow City Marketing Bureau.

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, Arts & Business Scotland and the Commonwealth Youth Trust.

She has a degree in economics from Glasgow University, a PhD from the Institute of Retail Studies in Stirling University and holds honorary doctorates from both the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University.