James is an independent environmental advisor, Welsh Government appointed member of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and Vice Chair & MMO appointed member of the Devon & Severn Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority.
James studied Town & Country Planning at Newcastle University. He joined the Nature Conservancy Council in 1983 and was appointed Head of Policy at English Nature in 2002. Shortly after Natural England was established in 2006, James became Director of Policy before being appointed as its first Director of Marine in 2008. In that role he oversaw recommendations to Government for designation of 10 European Marine Sites, increasing the extent of the Marine Protected Area network to >24% of English waters; and he chaired the Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) project board which delivered advice to Defra on the initial 127 MCZs proposed in July 2012.
James’ passion for the marine environment ‘runs in the family’, as his great grandfather Ebenezer J Mather founded the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen, and his grandfather John Hugh Mather sailed from Cardiff on Terra Nova with Captain Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition.Back to the list