An enormous privilege and honour

“It is an enormous privilege and honour to be installed as the 35th Master of the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators.

I see us as a leading Livery company on environmental issues. We are a Company of action – looking at the big picture, founded on detailed knowledge and experience – for our task “Promoting a diverse and sustainable environment”. We are in a good position to help tackle the huge national and international challenges we are facing on managing water, climate change and energy. We share public concern for the state of our rivers and coastline.

Within our Company we have tremendous expertise and experience of water and environmental policy and practice, and on wider issues including waste management, the circular economy, and land use. We will share our knowledge with any party that asks for help. We will continue our topical monthly webinars, responding to consultations and being at the forefront of the campaign for Livery climate action plans.

We need to grow to deliver on our objectives. I want to welcome more members who share an interest in water and the environment, who will bring with them a current perspective on the sector. I appreciate that like many other Livery Companies, we are facing major challenges. We are working hard to control costs. Thanks to the work of Past Masters and members, despite Covid and cutbacks, we are on an even keel, successfully recruiting new individual and corporate members. The Wardens are leading our recruitment drive and I encourage everyone to help.

The Court has endorsed groups and committees with specific objectives for the year. We are working to improve our communication, inside the Company and through a new website. I encourage more members to consider joining the Court.

I am grateful to the many who already support our Trust, and urge all Company members to contribute. It helps finance young people, from primary age to post-graduate, to access water and environmental learning. I am keen to raise the profile of both the Company and the Trust and encourage more young people to join the Company. I am grateful to the Trust for supporting students to become Associates of the Company.

I welcome our new Wardens Dylan Barker, Carolyn Roberts and Tom Flood, Master’s Bailiff Gemma Harvey and Thames Warden’s Bailiff Stuart Herritty.

I am pleased to welcome great speakers this coming year: Michaelmas Lunch – Sarah Mukherjee, former BBC journalist and CEO of IEMA (the largest environmental professional body in the UK); Banquet – Dame Fiona Woolf, past Lord Mayor and environmental champion; Myddelton Lunch – Tony Juniper, Chair, Natural England; and Election Lunch – incoming Lord Mayor and member of our Company Alderman Michael Mainelli. I also look forward to welcoming eminent speakers and guests to our two City Water Debates in November and March, and to discussions with leading players on water and environmental issues.

We have an exciting social programme including various visits, the opportunity to drive sheep over the Thames and a float in the Lord Mayor’s show. Watch out for more details.

My grateful thanks to everyone who has helped my Consort Eileen and me on our journey, especially to my predecessor Colin Drummond for his leadership and commitment to the Company, and to his consort, Georgina; they have set a high bar for Eileen and me to follow. I must make special mention of our Clerk, Liveryman Christine Duthie, who has provided first-class support for the Company and the membership.

This is a great Company supported by committed people, and I am excited to be able to serve you as Master. Eileen and I look forward to working with you and for you over the coming year.

If you wish, you can follow my regular blog posts.”

Martin Bigg
Master Water Conservator