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Kath Wellard, Senior environmental scientist, Atkins


Senior environmental scientist

When did you join Atkins?

June 2008.

Why did you join Atkins?

I used to be a civil servant, working for the Welsh Assembly Government but always planned to come back to consultancy and the opportunity arose to work at Atkins.

Describe your role in a sentence.

I work in marine and coastal planning and policy, and environmental assessment.

Do you have any professional accreditations?

I’m a Chartered Marine Scientist (CMarSci).

What did you do before you joined Atkins?

I have a degree in Marine Biology and on graduation worked in a waste transfer station before joining the Environment Agency. I did a Masters in Marine and Fisheries Science in Aberdeen, worked for five years for a small fisheries consultancy in Edinburgh before working as a researcher at the National Assembly of Wales and then as marine policy officer for the Welsh Assembly Government.

How do you describe what you do to friends and family?

I look at the impact that what engineers might build will have on the coastal and marine environment and work out what they should do to reduce or totally remove the impacts.

What are you currently working on?

The Integrated Coastal and Marine Plan for Bahrain – which is the first marine plan of its kind in the Middle East. Also I’m looking at the future opportunities for beach nourishment in Wales for the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW).

What achievement are you most proud of?

The coastal defence improvement scheme that I’ve worked on in Tywyn, Wales, it’s very satisfying once everything has got all its planning consents and is given the go ahead.

What’s the most technically challenging project you’ve worked on?

I’ve worked on many projects that have been difficult and complicated for different reasons. The Severn Estuary Shoreline Management Plan is a good example as I have to work with so many different stakeholders. It’s a European designated site so we have to show imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI) for some parts of the proposal and ensure we can compensate for any deterioration to the site. There are many uncertainties in the project too, such as the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.

How has your career developed at Atkins?

I’ve been given more responsibility and moved up the ladder to project manager and now to a more senior role. I was supported by my peers but had to persevere and demand to be helped. 

How do you and Atkins make a difference? 

We save time for our clients as we get to look at so many policy reviews we see the lessons learnt elsewhere and we can save regulation for making the same mistakes. 

How would you describe the culture at Atkins? 

It’s very professional; everyone is very good at what they do. 

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