Steering Group

SWIP is governed by a steering group made up of 15 members who represent a cross section of specialist fields from the region, and representatives from across industry, business and local government.

Peter Kydd

BSc(Edin) CEng FICE

SWIP Role: Chair and Energy Sector

Peter took over as Chair from Richard Fish in 2020. He has been a member of SWIP since its formation in 2017 and acts as the energy sector expert. He has over 40 years’ experience in senior roles for consulting firms, primarily with Parsons Brinckerhoff (now WSP) and he continues to be retained by WSP as a consultant, advising on decarbonisation, clean growth, climate change action planning and tidal power.

In 2008, he led the consortium of consultants undertaking the Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study for the UK and Welsh Governments and has been advising government on tidal power ever since.   

Miranda Housden

BA (Hons) MA FRSA

South West Regional Director, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)

SWIP Role: Secretary

As the South West Director at the Institution of Civil Engineers, Miranda is responsible for raising the profile of civil engineering in the region, maintaining professional standards, encouraging a diverse future workforce and providing leadership and direction to the ICE South West team and more than 6,000 ICE members.

Prior to moving to the South West, she was the ICE Director for London and South East England, having previously been the London Director for the Royal Institute of British Architects. Miranda has produced a number of films including Engineering the London Underground, Engineering Plymouth and Engineering Happiness for which she was awarded the Institution of Civil Engineers Garth Watson medal.

Former voluntary posts include Foundation Governor at Central Foundation Girls School, Bow; Board of Trustees Member for the Community Land Trust, St Clements, Bow; Campaign for Drawing Board Member and a Vice Chair on the Artists Advisory Board, Chisenhale Arts Place. She is currently Secretary to the Torpoint Mooring Association and Board Member of the Mayflower Rowing Club. Miranda is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, holds a first-class BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art from Falmouth University, MA in Fine Art from University of the Arts London, and was a Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome. She has a studio in Cornwall and has had several exhibitions both in the UK and internationally including the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, Nová Sín Gallery, Prague and Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre.

Stuart Allen

BSc (Hons), IEng MICE, CMgr CMI

Delivery Manager (South West), Environment Agency

SWIP Role: Environment Sector

Stuart is an Incorporated Engineer and Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He is also a Chartered Manager with the Chartered Management Institute, and a member of the ICE South West Regional Committee (Junior Vice Chair and Dorchester ICE City Club Chair).

He has a degree in River and Coastal Engineering at the University of the West of England (Bristol) and Level 7 NVQ Diploma in Construction Senior Management.

Stuart has a long and diverse career in asset, project and construction management, working for multiple public sector organisations across the South West of England – Environment Agency, West Dorset District Council, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and Dorset Council.

Stuart currently holds the position of Delivery Manager (South West) at the Environment Agency. Working within Programme and Contract Management he leads a team of 50+ experienced project and programme managers that deliver the Flood & Coastal Risk Management (FCRM) Programme and other non-FCRM projects across the South West. His role involves working collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders, including the Environment Agency’s long-term strategic delivery partners, which make up the South West Integrated Delivery Team.

John C Chaplin

BSc CEng FICE

Director of External Affairs and Special Projects

SWIP Role: Maritime Sector

John is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers.  After working in consultancy and contracting John joined The Bristol Port Company in 2000.  He was promoted to the position of Director of Engineering in 2003 and subsequently to the Director with responsibility for External Affairs and the delivery of major schemes.

John has managed an extensive range of projects for The Port.  He is the Port Company’s agent on various national and regional bodies and represents the Port in their dealings with neighbours, central and local government and stakeholders including Highways England, Network Rail and National Grid.

John was appointed Chair of SevernNet in 2019, a social enterprise run by and for the businesses, neighbouring community, and other stakeholders in the Port’s hinterland.

Kate Doodson

BEng (Hons)

Joint Chief Executive of Cosmic

SWIP Role: Digital Sector

Kate is the Joint Chief Executive of Cosmic, one of the leading social enterprises in the South West and recognised across the UK for its achievements and ongoing development. Kate is a girl geek having spent 18 years in the IT industry, many of which running a wholly female owned IT software business.

Kate specialises in Digital Futures and the strategic use of Digital to transform business processes. She is passionate about ensuring businesses use the full range of digital services available to them to give them the edge they need to thrive, particularly in the rural economy.

Kate regularly delivers lectures regularly across the UK and internationally on Digital Transformation.

Kate is a steering group member of the South West Cyber Security Cluster, Tech South West and a STEM ambassador in Schools. Her previous career in Civil Engineering enabled her to work extensively in both the UK and overseas.

Kate has been shortlisted for the Women in IT awards, as IT Advocate of the Year, and received awards from Tech4Good, Social Enterprise UK and Venus awards

Simon Earles

BA MSc FICRS

Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Director, Bristol Airport

SWIP Role: Aviation Sector

Simon is Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Director at Bristol Airport, having joined the business and moved to the South West in 2017. He has worked for almost 20 years in a variety of roles in the aviation sector, working previously at Heathrow and London Luton airports, and before that in local government and consultancy.

Simon is a qualified transport planner and a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability. His various roles have seen him leading work on strategic planning and policy, transport strategy and delivery, community and government engagement, development and corporate social responsibility. He is also a former Board member of the Heathrow Express Operating Company.

Simon is currently a Board member of Weston College Corporation and sits on the Business in the Community Board, South West.

Rebecca Edmond

BSc (Hons), MSc, DIC

Head of Planning & Development for Southwest Operations at Highways England

SWIP Role: Highways Sector

Rebecca is the Head of Planning & Development for Southwest Operations at Highways England. She is accountable for the development of the 5 to 10 year infrastructure investment programme and longer term strategic plans for the Strategic Road Network in the southwest.  This includes the maintenance, renewal and improvement of assets, whilst working collaboratively with regional stakeholders to plan improvements to the network to support future economic growth, in line with Highways England’s Strategic Business Plan and longer term economic, social and environmental goals.

Rebecca has worked in the Engineering and Construction industry for over 22 years, starting her career as a geotechnical engineer. After progressing within several project and programme manager roles in the private consultancy sector, Rebecca moved into the regulated water industry leading the Capital and Strategic Planning, before joining Highways England in early 2018.   She leads a team of over 75 staff which includes data analysts, multi-disciplinary engineering and technical specialists, spatial planners, and stakeholder management and programme development professionals.

Richard Fish

CEng FICE FIStructE FCIHT

Independent consultant

SWIP Role: Structures Sector

Richard is an independent consultant specialising in bridge asset management. A graduate of Southampton University, he spent just over 30 years in local authorities in the South West. He was Cornwall County Council’s Chief Bridge Engineer for 10 years before taking on wider responsibilities, with the last 7 years of his public sector career as the County’s Director of Planning, Transportation and Estates. During this period, Richard was a member of the UK Roads Liaison Group and chaired the UK Bridges Board.

Since starting his business in 2009, Richard has worked for many public and private sector clients including commissions in the USA, New Zealand and Turkey. He acts as the Technical Secretary of the Bridge Owners Forum (based at Cambridge University) and in that role continues to serve on the UK Bridges Board.

Richard has been an active member of the ICE since joining as a student in 1973. He was a member of Council (with two spells of the Executive Board) from 2009 to 2015 and has served on several committees and panels. He is a former Chair of ICE SW and the ICE Audit Committee, and currently ICE SW Policy Rep. Richard is a former Chair of SWIP and a current member of SWIP’s Strategy Group.

Mike Gallop

BSc MSc PhD C.Geol FGS MIAM FPWI

Route Director, Western, Network Rail

SWIP Role: Rail Sector

Mike has worked in the railway industry for more than 14 years. He started originally in sponsorship roles and for the last seven years as Director of Routh Asset Management for Western Route. Prior to this he worked for more than 15 years in the construction industry delivering a range of projects for the energy, water and transport sectors.

Married, with two grown up children, Mike lives in the Wye Valley which allows him ample opportunity to pursue his interests in running and walking. Mike’s immediate priorities on Western, centre around the delivery of the December 2019 timetable, continuing the improvements in infrastructure reliability, developing the quality of the passenger experience at Western Route’s three managed stations and continuing accommodation improvements for front-line colleagues.

Paula Hewitt

BSc, MCD, MRTPI

Lead Director for Economic and Community Infrastructure & Director of Commissioning at Somerset County Council, and first vice-president of ADEPT

SWIP Role: Local Government Sector

She has responsibility for a diverse mix of services ranging from highways and waste to economic development, property, registration and libraries.

She has led a number of high-profile service transformation programmes, delivering innovative ways of delivering services, customer benefits and financial savings.

Paula was heavily involved in co-ordinating the Local Authority response to the devastating Somerset winter 2014/15 floods and leads the work to minimise the effect of future flooding in the county through the establishment of the Somerset Rivers Authority.

Paula is responsible for the development of commissioning practice in Somerset County Council working closely with adults, childrens and public heath colleagues.

Paula is 1st vice president of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) which represents Place Directors from county, unitary, metropolitan and combined authorities, along with directors of local enterprise partnerships, sub-national transport bodies and corporate partners drawn from key service sectors.

Ann Metherall

BSc CEng FICE

Partner, Burges Salmon LLP

SWIP Role: Professional Services Sector

A partner in the firm, Ann heads up the dispute resolution unit as well as the health and safety team. She is also a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

As a chartered civil engineer, Ann’s work focuses on the transport and energy sectors. She also advises clients in construction, property ownership and development, chemicals and manufacturing.

Ann’s particular expertise lies in commercial disputes within a regulatory framework (including all forms of dispute resolution including mediation, arbitration and litigation) and health and safety issues in medium to high hazard industries.

Ann’s extensive experience includes advising clients during police, regulatory and coronial investigations following accidents; on rail regulatory issues and rail industry disputes; and on liability claims. Ann is particularly interested in working with clients ahead of issues on compliance and arrangements for crisis management/emergency response. Her experience as a civil engineer brings a particular pragmatism to her advice.

Phill Mills

BSc CEng MICE FIWater

Independent consultant – water sector

SWIP Role: Water & Waste Water Sector

Phill is a chartered engineer, a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Fellow of the Institute of Water, with over 40 years’ experience in the UK water industry.

He has extensive experience at senior management level working for a water and sewerage company, a global water and energy consultant and the trade body for the water sector – Water UK. He has a track record of working with stakeholders including Ministers and Government officials, industry regulators, consumer champions and environmental bodies. 

Phill is a past Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineer’s Water Expert Panel and a previous President of the South West Area of the Institute of Water.  As well as being a member of SWIP, Phill is also a member of the Future Water Association executive team. Phill has a further role as Chair of the UK Water Retailer Council – the body representing retailers in the English and Scottish water retail markets for non-household customers.

Phil Smith

BSc MBA

Managing Director, Business West

SWIP Role: Business Sector

From 1983 Phil worked in the North Sea oil & gas fields as an offshore construction engineer for an American oil company. The stagnating North Sea oil industry of the late 80’s led Phil to do an MBA at London Business School and University of California Berkeley, which was followed by a role as a mergers and acquisitions specialist at a City of London investment bank.

Phil moved to Bristol in the early 90’s to become the CEO of the West of England Business Link. In 2003 Phil took on his current position as MD of Business West, the largest Chamber of Commerce in the UK, and a public purpose company, which operates the West of England Initiative and the Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire & Wiltshire Chambers of Commerce. It also operates various public sector contracts, including DIT export services and Innovate UK services for the SW region. Business West is the co-founder of Destination Bristol and the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership. Phil is Chair of the South West Ventures Fund Advisory and the West of England ESIF committees  and sits on the Court of Bristol University.

Prof Colin Taylor

BSc PhD CEng FICE

Emeritus Professor of Earthquake Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Bristol

SWIP Role: Academic Sector

Colin has 40 years research and practice experience on the resilience of infrastructure systems to natural hazards impacts.

His work has covered dams, bridges, nuclear power plants, utilities, buildings, geotechnical and smart infrastructure problems. Colin led the UrbanID diagnostics pilot, funded by the UKRI Urban Living Partnership, which developed a learning focused methodology for diagnosing the barriers preventing Bristol from becoming a ‘flourishing city’. This research continues to be an important theme in the research programme of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) and underpins SWIP’s diagnosis of the SW decarbonisation challenge.

Colin’s role on the SWIP steering group is to convene the academic input from the SW and wider UK universities. Prior to his recent retirement from the university, Colin was a lead academic on the £138m UKCRIC project, playing a key role in the development of the successful funding proposal. He continues to engage with UKCRIC and is connecting it to SWIP. He is also guiding the development of the methodological framework, based on the UrbanID approach, that SWIP is using to frame the problem space and to prioritise investigations.

Liz Waugh

BSc Hons, AMICE, MCIPR, MCI

Managing Director of Coast Communications

SWIP Role: Communications Sector

A communications professional with over 25 years’ experience in industry and public sector, specialising in stakeholder engagement with critical infrastructure and crisis management. Providing expert advice to public and private sector, including central Government (Cabinet Office, BEIS and Defra), Scottish and Welsh Governments, as well as local authorities. Currently adviser to critical infrastructure portfolios totalling in excess of £15.7bn, including 11 energy from waste projects, major road and rail schemes, and separate regeneration programmes for three major SW towns.

Mentoring three engineers and regular speaker at Women in Leadership, Construction and other fora to promote engineering and career progression. Member of the Great Western Railway Advisory Board, SW Infrastructure Partnership (SWIP) and Vice Secretary (UK) to Anglo American Real Property and Infrastructure Institute. Previously chaired the Local Transport Board, BBC Audience Council (representing England) and ex interim CEO of Heart of the South West LEP. Lectures for Bournemouth, Plymouth and Leeds University and expert witness to several public inquiries on the impact of critical infrastructure on the tourism economy.

Managing Director of Coast Communications, a strategic technical communications agency based in Cornwall, London and Cardiff, with a roster of national and international clients.