Chilterns Conservation Board elects new Chair and Deputy Chair

Thursday 29 April 2021

The Chilterns Conservation Board is delighted to announce that, following the retirement of its Chair and Deputy Chair, Cllr Ian Reay and Professor Ray Payne, respectively, its new Chair will be Paul Mainds, BEM who will be assisted by Deputy Chair, John Nicholls. 

Chair: Paul Mainds, BEM 

Paul Mainds, new Chair of CCB 2021

Paul says “I am delighted to have been appointed Chair of the Conservation Board at this exciting time for the Chilterns. During the Covid-19 pandemic we have all realised the enormous value of fresh air and exercise, as well as the subtler benefits for mental health of nature in its widest sense and the unique joys of the Chilterns in particular. With the end of lockdown in sight and the summer sun in prospect it seems a perfect moment to take up the role.

“I must acknowledge an enormous debt to both Ian Reay, who has served as Chair since June 2014 and his Deputy, Ray Payne. Supported by committed board members and a highly professional staff team, they have presided over a hugely successful period of growth in both reputation and output.

“I look forward to working with Dr Elaine King, our Chief Executive, and her excellent team. As well as the myriad challenges that the Board faces within the boundaries of the Chilterns, I look forward to us also engaging with the wider national debates especially on climate change, nature’s recovery and the renewed focus on health and wellbeing.”

Paul brings a wealth of commercial and third-sector knowledge to the role, having had a successful career in the European road transport industry, building one of the UK’s leading companies in the sector. Subsequently he served as trustee of the Henley River and Rowing Museum, promoting Thames and environment-related education and outreach programmes. He was recognised in the Queen’s 2014 Birthday Honours list for his "contribution to heritage education". 

Since retirement, Paul has been active in several non-executive roles including founder Chair of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust based in Stoke Mandeville. He was appointed a Secretary of State Board member at the Chilterns Conservation Board in 2019.

Paul has lived in the Chilterns all his life and in the Marlow area for the last forty-five years. He still rows regularly and is a keen dog walker and orchardist.


Deputy Chair: John Nicholls

John Nicholls trained as a planner and was a local authority Director of Planning before moving into senior roles in urban regeneration. There he worked with the Black Country Development Corporation, English Partnerships, and as Chief Executive of several Urban Regeneration Companies until he retired in 2009.

John has been a trustee of various environmental and arts charities, including the National Forest Charitable Trust. He has been a Secretary of State-appointed Board member of the CCB since 2016.


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