2024 Award Winner’s Spotlight: Member of the Year Award

Tom Butterworth CEcol MCIEEM

This award was sponsored by:

Tom has over 27 years’ experience working for wildlife in academia, civil society, government, and consultancy. His roles have included managing protected sites, developing biodiversity policies, and spearheading initiatives like the UK’s Nature Positive campaign.

Tom has led biodiversity and natural capital work across many high-profile projects, particularly in the energy, road, and rail sectors. This includes working on major schemes such as HS2 as well as innovative projects and initiatives such as developing a nature positive approach for a UK airport, a nature recovery strategy for The Crown Estate, and Transport for London’s biodiversity baseline and natural capital account. He works closely with policy and best practice, particularly in the development of the mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) policy in England. His foundational knowledge of BNG is evident across multiple resources, publications and training material including the BSI “Little book of Biodiversity Net Gain” with co-authors Julia Baker and Jo Treweek.

In fact, Tom is probably best known for his leadership in the development and implementation of BNG. With his previous experience of working at Natural England providing useful knowledge and understanding of policy development, he was instrumental in driving forward early development. Tom has shown great commitment to ensuring that the BNG tools and metrics that are now encompassed within England’s legal framework, are practical to apply by end-users and scientifically robust.

Beyond project work, Tom is not just an exceptional technical lead for biodiversity, the future of ecology and sustainability more widely, he is also an advocate of how to work well. As a people leader, he leads with an inclusive, supportive and passionate mentality. His belief, vision and confidence of approach is a distinctive trait that results in others working hard to achieve their own goals and to have impact on biodiversity themselves. The support he provides to others, facilitating their progression and giving them the opportunity to shine, has led to many, especially women, taking on leadership roles for nature as a result.


Tom’s commitment to biodiversity extends to his involvement in technical advisory roles and leadership positions in organisations like the UK Business and Biodiversity Forum. He is a prolific author, contributing to trade journals and peer-reviewed literature, particularly focusing on nature-positive approaches and BNG.

He is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of conservationists, providing support to PhD and MSc students. Under his leadership and encouragement, a significant number of WSP’s ecologists have become members of CIEEM.

Until recently as Head of Ecology at WSP, Tom has played a crucial role in developing training programmes to enhance ecological expertise, particularly in BNG assessments. Tom has now joined Arup as Regional Nature Lead for the UK, India, Middle-East and Africa.

In summary, Tom’s vast experience, technical expertise, and passion for biodiversity conservation make him a key figure in the field. His leadership and advocacy efforts have significantly contributed to advancing ecology and environmental management practices across our profession.