Meet The Team

Peter Barham


Peter has worked extensively on the Welland throughout his career and has been Chairman of the Trust and the Welland Valley Partnership since 2011.

As Regional Conservation Manager for the Anglian Region of the National Rivers Authority, he was heavily focused on ensuring that conservation was a major consideration in the planning and delivery of works. His work during these years also involved delivering practical river restoration and collaborating with the University of Leicester and others to determine what comprises good river restoration practice. In 2001, Peter joined Associated British Ports as Sustainable Development Manager with his work described as ‘best practice for sustainable development’ by Natural England.

Peter has run his own environmental consultancy since 2009 working on projects in river, coastal and marine environments with a variety of clients in the public and private sector. He continues to build constructive relationships between government agencies and conservation NGOs to guide shared objectives for conservation and industry


David Harper


David is a freshwater biologist who has spent his entire career studying the Welland. After his PhD studies at Dundee University he was appointed as the first biologist for the Welland & Nene River Division of Anglian Water Authority. He went on to teach evening classes in Ecology and Biology at the University of Leicester before moving into a more permanent position within the Zoology Department. 

David carried out research into the development of Rutland Water, publishing a book of its development after its first ten years. He has also developed a method for assessing the ecological and conservation value of rivers that has been turned into a tool for designing and implementing river restoration.



Chris Stoate


Professor Chris Stoate is Head of Research at the Allerton Project’s research and demonstration farm at Loddington and has a small farm near Tilton on the Hill.  His research is at a range of scales from experimental plots to the landscape scale ‘Water Friendly Farming’ experiment in the Welland headwaters.  He chairs the Welland’s pioneering ‘Resource Protection Group’ which brings together research, farming and wider public interests associated with catchment management.



Richard Spiers


Richard has been a trustee of the WRT since 2016. He is currently secretary of the Guash Fishing Club which has a number of stretches of trout stream on the River Guash and the Welland. He and the club are active in conservation and restoration of these stretches as part of the Welland Valley Partnership as well as supporting WRT’s work in the wider catchment. He lives and fishes in and around Stamford.




Chris French

Project Officer

Chris is a full time project officer with the Welland Rivers Trust and started working with us in 2018 after graduating from the University of Exeter with an MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity. His thesis focused on the mitigating effects of natural habitats on downstream flood risk and he is now keen to put his passion for landscape scale conservation into practice by improving the quality of the riparian environment for people and wildlife throughout the catchment.

Chris has spent time volunteering with the Wildlife Trust BCN, Rockingham Forest Trust and Greening Australia and enjoys kayaking on the River Nene near his home in Northamptonshire.