Alice Laughton Joins to Head RBKC’s Ecology Service

Dr Alice Laughton brings a wealth of useful experience to Holland Park and the whole borough. Having started with a BSc in Zoology at the University of Edinburgh, she went on to gain a doctorate in Ecological Entomology (study of insects), during which she focused on the immune system of honey bees; that will be appreciated by our Holland Park bees. More academia followed, during which she studied how factors such as environmental temperature, ageing, nutrition and disease affect how animals develop their immune responses.

She became interested in the importance of communicating science in a way that engaged the public and she was Chief Scientist on a British Exploring Society expedition to the Amazon rainforest. I think we’d all like to hear more about that. 

In 2017, Alice joined The Royal Parks to lead a 5-year project, which combined public engagement with habitat monitoring and conservation works. She says: ‘It was a truly collaborative project that involved working with park managers, contractors, wildlife specialists, learning partners and Friends groups.’ She introduced conservation grazing to The Green Park and created wildflower meadows, while developing public community projects, with creative  interpretation to increase public awareness.

Alice’s experience and interests are good news for Holland Park as the RBKC Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) goes forward for approval. The BAP is a guide for how we will protect and support wildlife in the borough, and the resources needed to do this. It sits alongside the Green Plan and is interlinked with RBKC commitments to climate change and air quality. For the first time, the BAP will focus on the health and wellbeing benefits of access to nature. She is well aware of the increased pressure on our precious parks and the challenges of competing priorities for people and wildlife. The BAP, and associated Woodland Management Plan, will set ambitious targets for protecting, enhancing and expanding habitats for wildlife in Holland Park. That is very good news.

We look forward to getting to know Alice and seeing her get our long-awaited Woodland Management Plan up and running.

Jennie Kettlewell

[Spring 2022]