Nigel Symes

Head of Business Advice

A conservation ecologist specialising in biotope restoration with the RSPB, Nigel has spent 35 years in the field, initiating and managing restoration projects often with business partners. 

After leading a ground-breaking landscape scale restoration initiative which rehabilitated over 1,000ha of rare heathland biotopes in Dorset, UK, he moved into partnership development with a focus on ecosystem restoration with an increasing focus on business engagement in restoring biotopes. 

Identifying the potential for the scale of new biotopes as a legacy minerals extraction in the UK, he initiated Nature After Minerals in 2006 with a view to addressing policy and technical blockages to delivery. In the last 10 years the programme become a leading player in the quarry sector, involved in creating over 3,500 ha of new priority habitats.

In 2014 he founded a new unit at the RSPB, the Business Advice Unit, to collate and drive conservation partnerships with businesses. The unit engages with sectors that impact land management, from quarrying and construction, through housing, transport infrastructure and renewable energy, to food and farming. The unit also seeks to explore the relationship between biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural capital.

In 2015 the RSPB partnered with Anesco, a leading UK green energy solutions businesses. With 100 solar sites across the UK, Anesco manage a significant rural estate; the partnership seeks to maximise biodiversity opportunities within the context of operational sites.

He has authored several technical handbooks on restoration and management of biotopes as well as contributing to others.