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Our people

Kit Hawkins

Kit is HiDef’s Managing Director and is a Chartered Biologist, Chartered Scientist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

Kit has an extensive background in the offshore wind industry and in large-scale project management, previous roles having included being Centrica’s Round 2 Development Manager and Environment and Consents Manager for the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm. He has also projected managed other Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects through impact assessment, consenting and construction.

Elaine Southward

Elaine is HiDef’s Operations Director, managing aircraft and flight operations, as well as data collection and delivery.

Elaine is HiDef’s Safety Champion and leads HiDef’s quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE) delivery, ensuring compliance with our ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 27001 accreditation. In doing this, Elaine is responsible for ensuring continuous business improvement, ensuring that lessons learnt are fed back into the development and improvement of HiDef’s methods of working. Elaine’s attention to detail is second-to-none and she has been the key driving force behind HiDef’s recent ISO 27001 accreditation.

Andy Webb

Andy is HiDef’s Chief Scientist and moved to HiDef after 28 years with JNCC where he developed an advanced knowledge in the design, implementation and statistical analysis of seabird and cetacean surveys in the marine environment.

Andy has played a significant role in the development of aerial and boat-based ornithological survey methods (especially the ESAS programme) and is able to advise his clients based on years of both boat-based and aerial survey experience. Andy edits and contributes to a number of peer-reviewed journals and is considered a World expert in offshore ornithological survey.

Dr. Ross McGregor

Dr. Ross McGregor joined HiDef in 2016 and is an ornithologist with a background in environmental impact assessment and academic research on endangered species. He specialises in impact prediction from offshore energy projects and the consequences of these on bird populations.

Ross has an in-depth knowledge of Habitats Regulations Assessments including ECJ judgements, national case law and national and EC guidance and is currently an invited expert on two Marine Scotland Project Steering Groups, we well as currently advising a number of offshore wind developers on HRA and impact assessment.

Martin Scott

Martin joined the HiDef team in 2016, and comes from a strong project management background. He has managed projects for many years including being Supervisor of £2.4million European Commission funded Machair LIFE+ project from inception to delivery on a range of dispersed island localities.

Martin has project managed numerous ornithology schemes across the UK, both on and offshore. He has considerable experience of overseas work, working in diverse locations from Syria to Canada and was the RSPB’s Conservation Officer for the Outer Hebrides between 2003 and 2011.

Georg Nehls

Georg is BioConsult SH’s Managing Director and brings over 25 years of marine environmental research expertise to the project team. He obtained his PhD studying eider ducks and mussel populations. In 1998, Georg founded BioConsult SH and since then the company has grown to become one of the leading providers of marine environmental consultancy services to the conservation and development sectors in Germany, Denmark and the UK.

Georg has an excellent understanding of the natural environment, as well as the legal aspects of planning and assessment procedures in the EU in relation to offshore wind energy and marine conservation. As Managing Director of BioConsult SH, Georg annually supervises more than 100 projects relating to onshore and offshore wind farms, with a key focus on birds and marine mammals.

Chris Whelan

Chris is HiDef’s Flight Operations and Data Manager, being directly responsible for managing our flight operations and ensuring that the data collected meets our rigorous quality assurance standards.

Chris has been with HiDef since 2009 and has amassed an almost unrivalled knowledge base of offshore survey operations, aviation safety and the development of applied imaging. Chris is responsible for maintaining and curating our off-site data store, which now runs to tens of petabytes (1 petabyte equals 1 million gigabytes) and which is possibly the largest repository of offshore wildlife data anywhere in the World.

Catherine Irwin

Catherine has a background in geography and spatial analysis, having completed an undergraduate degree in geography at the University of Glasgow in 2014.

Catherine manages the delivery of a number of HiDef’s high-profile projects, including those for the renewable and conservation sectors. Since joining HiDef in the summer of 2014, Catherine has rapidly established herself abilities as a talented environmental scientist, authoring a number of survey and analysis reports, as well contributing to peer-reviewed studies and papers.

Catherine is a keen Scout and Guide, gaining the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award through scouting, as well as having been awarded the Queen’s Scout Award and the Queen’s Guide Award.

Lynn Williams

Lynn joined HiDef as a reviewer in 2009, before moving to her current role in administration and finance in 2014. Lynn is Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualified and has a background in Local Authority finance, where she worked for 15 years, before leaving to start a family in 2003.

Lynn’s role within the team includes the day-to-day business administration, purchase ledger and budget monitoring.