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Our Story So Far

Launched in 2021, River Action is on a mission to rescue Britain’s river by raising awareness on river pollution and apply pressure on industrial and agricultural producers, water companies, and other polluters. We want them to take greater responsibility for remedying the adverse environmental impact their supply chains are having on the health of our rivers.

Since launch, River Action has now led a number of high profile campaigns which have materially increased public awareness of the pollution crisis facing our rivers, and the failure of Government funded environmental agencies to address this.

Our prime focus is to target food production companies whose supply chains are complicit in the increasing volume of river pollution caused by the run-off of nutrient rich agricultural waste. However, wherever our precious rivers are being abused by polluters, River Action will be campaigning to raise awareness and seek remedy.

See Our Campaigns Meet The Team

Image: Ceri Breeze

River Action

Meet The Team



Charles is the founder and Chair of River Action. He is a highly experienced business leader across the field of professional services and the communications sector. In recent years he has held a number of senior leadership roles across these industries including CEO of Financial Dynamics (2001-2012), Chairman of the Karma Communications Group (2012-2015) and Chairman of Teneo International (2015-2020).

In June 2020 he exited the commercial sector to focus primarily on environmental conservation, sustainable development and impact investment.  In addition to founding and chairing River Action, Charles is currently the Chairman of the Island Initiative, an NGO focussed on working with small island communities around a range of sustainable development issues. He is on the board of The Conduit Connect – a rapidly growing impact investment platform and is an active early-stage investor across a range of social impact and environmental technology enterprises.



James is Chief Executive of River Action. He was formerly CEO of Beaver Trust where he supported the team to deliver the organisation’s strategy and led the national policy programme. He convened a diverse national stakeholder coalition including landowners, anglers, conservationists and regulators to agree to protect and live alongside native beavers.

James is a naturalist, archaeologist and social entrepreneur. He has established or transformed enterprises ranging from conservation and development in the tropics (Blue Ventures), deep-sea exploration and research (Nekton Foundation) and ecotourism in Europe (Sawday’s) to climate communications (Susten8), CSR and education (Global Cool), renewable energy (Empower Community) and clean technology investment (The Research Exchange).

You can contact James at:


Vice Chairman

Feargal is most widely known as the lead vocalist of  The Undertones. In recent years he has performed various roles supporting the UK’s commercial music industry, winning several awards and honours for his work in that area.

Feargal is the Vice Chair of River Action.  He is a passionate environmental campaigner, focussing particularly on the state of rivers. A lifelong fly fisherman, he has actively campaigned against the pollution of British rivers (particularly chalk streams) and the regulations of the water industry which impact British water resources. Feargal has recently launched legal action against the government over the poor state of England’s rivers. He also gave the keynote address at the Rivers Trust Autumn Conference 2018.


Campaigns Manager

Amy is the Campaigns Manager at River Action.  She was the former Head of Campaigns & Policy at Surfers Against Sewage and led campaigns, policy and project work on plastic pollution, ocean recovery, water quality, and ocean & climate. Amy spearheaded the #EndSewagePollution campaign, launched in 2020, calling out water companies and the government on their failures to address sewage pollution into rivers and the ocean, bringing together NGOs, politicians and the public to drive action on water quality.

She has been a key driver in pushing support for the Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill and amendments in the Environment Bill to improve water quality legislation; and manages the only UK wide water quality information service, the Safer Seas & Rivers Service.

You can contact Amy at:


Development Manager

Lauren is the Development Manager at River Action. She is an international development professional with 12 years of experience leading change in urban and rural development, sustainable agriculture, partnerships and CSR. She holds an MSc in Urbanisation and Development from LSE and has worked in the UK, Egypt, Kenya, Somaliland and Cambodia. Lauren is a passionate environmentalist and founded her own sustainable fashion brand, Lauren Razek.  You can contact Lauren at:


Campaigns Manager (Maternity Cover)

Erica is the Campaigns Manager (Maternity Cover) at River Action. She has previously worked for National Trust,  Defra, Which? and was the former Head of Government and Rural Affairs at Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) , developing campaigns, policy and political lobbying on affordable rural housing, farm scale and renewable energy. 

Erica led CPRE’s political influence on the 2015 Housing and Planning Bill, advocating for a thriving countryside for all.  She worked closely with Defra as it redesigned the way agriculture is supported as the UK exited the European Union. 

You can contact Erica at:


Finance Manager

Bic is River Action’s Finance Manager who is responsible for managing finance and operations at River Action. She is a qualified FCCA accountant with over 7 years of working experience in the charity sector.

Bic is originally from Vietnam but now she lives in the beautiful North Wales where she enjoys being close to nature and wildlife.

You can contact Bic at:


Communications Coordinator

Molly is River Action’s Communications Coordinator, having previously worked as a Communications Officer at Galapagos Conservation Trust.

Before her role in communications, she worked in the wilderness expedition industry as a guide, leading tours and projects across Iceland and western Canada. She has an extensive knowledge of all places cold, a love of working in remote and challenging environments, and truly enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for the outdoors and her fascination with the natural world.

Originally from south Devon, Molly holds a degree in English from the University of Exeter.

You can contact Molly at:

Lucy Messaritis

Virtual Executive Assistant
Starting her PA career in 2002 in the advertising and design industry, Lucy eventually spent over 7 years working with senior directors at one of the world’s leading Management Consultancy firms. In 2015 she and her family swapped South East London for South Gloucestershire and Lucy translated her skills into a virtual freelance offering, saving her clients the overheads of a full-time high-calibre EA.
A proud Cornishwoman, Lucy is passionate about environmental issues, particularly around marine pollution and the impact agriculture and urbanisation is having on our native species’ habitats.


Campaigns Coordinator

Harri is River Action’s Campaigns Coordinator and she is a passionate campaigner, activist and social entrepreneur. She has worked in leading organisations across fundraising and campaigning, including four years at the Fairtrade Foundation working on grassroots-led political advocacy campaigns on trade justice.

She is also Co-Director for Anti Diet Riot Club, a social enterprise that campaigns against diet culture and its dangerous beauty standards, which fuel disordered eating and weight stigma. She is also a coach, mental resilience trainer and author of ‘You Are Enough’ (Octopus Publishing). In 2022, she graduated with an MA in Food Anthropology from the University of Exeter, focusing her thesis on seed sovereignty in the UK.

You can contact Harri at:



Alison has many years’ experience of research and consultancy in public, private and academic contexts, largely specialising in rural regeneration and tourism development.

Prior to studying at Cardiff University, Alison was a freelance research consultant for ten years. Previously she was Senior Consultant at ECOTEC Research and Consulting in Birmingham and lectured at the University of Birmingham on tourism development and rural planning. She started her career working in tourism research and development in Cumbria and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.

She held an advisory role at the National Trust (Midlands) for eight years and has been a member of the Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership for 15 years.



Francesca is a food policy and campaigns specialist. She is a Senior Associate in the European Climate Foundation’s Food, Nature & Climate Strategic Communications team where her work focuses on industrial animal agriculture.

Before joining the ECF she was a Campaign Manager at Oxfam GB leading campaigns on labour rights in supermarket supply chains and climate justice. Prior to this she worked at the Climate Parliament, an international network of parliamentarians, and was Co-Director of the UK Youth Climate Coalition. She holds an MSc in Food Policy.



Ruth leads the Greener UK coalition’s work on the Environment Bill and the setting up of the Office for Environmental Protection. Before joining Greener UK, Ruth worked with a wide range of not-for-profit and public sector organisations, helping them to engage with and influence government and parliament. Prior to that, she was deputy chief executive of the Campaign for National Parks.

In addition to her Greener UK role, she is a board member of Hexagon Housing Association and the lay member on COMEAP, the expert committee that advises the government on the effects of air pollutants on health.


Public Affairs Consultant

Amy is a Manager at Seahorse Environmental where she leads on work for River Action, On the Hook, the Seahorse Trust and the Ionian Environment Foundation.

She was previously the research and communications officer at the Blue Marine Foundation and has an MSc in Conservation, publishing research on strengthening the governance framework for marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Amy is also a marine campaigns advisor to the Galapagos Conservation Trust.


Trustee & Advisory

Marina Gibson is a truly passionate angler who was lucky enough to spend much of her childhood chasing salmon, trout and sea trout. Marina is an ambassador for Orvis Fly Fishing, Angling Trust, Atlantic Salmon Trust and Fishing For Schools. In June 2019 Marina launched The Northern Fishing School at Swinton Estate in North Yorkshire, where her and her team teach all ages and abilities the art and technique of fly fishing and connect as many people as possible to the great outdoors. Marina is a certified ‘Fly Fishers International Instructor, 1st 4sport Level 2 coach and freelance writer.

Marina is an ardent supporter of the ‘Anglers Against Pollution’ and ‘River Action UK’ campaigns and hopes that we can collectively make a difference by scrutinising organisations, raising awareness and exerting force, so that we will have clean river systems for future generations, efficient wastewater treatments and thriving wildlife.



Ben is the Chief Executive Officer of Menhaden Capital, a London-listed investment trust which seeks to generate long-term shareholder returns by investing in businesses and opportunities which are delivering or benefiting from the more efficient use of energy and other resources.

Ben is a Trustee of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), one of largest climate change focused philanthropic funds in the world, and chairs the Goldsmith family’s JMG Foundation, which focuses on environmental issues. Ben is Chairman of the Conservative Environment Network.


Trustee & Advisory

James Macpherson is the former Deputy Chief Investment Officer of BlackRock’s Active Equity business managing assets of $280bn worldwide and was for many years a senior fund manager and head of their market leading UK Equity Team. He was the senior investor on BlackRock’s Global Environmental Social and Governance ‘’ESG’’ Policy Group and was Chairman of the ESG Policy Group in Europe. His experience of holding companies to account for their actions in the application of ESG standards will be invaluable to River Action’s work.



Ruth is a writer, campaigner, political analyst and conservationist with over twenty years’ experience in the environment sector. Ruth has experience working across the NGO sector including at Greenpeace, RSPB and Plantlife. Most recently she has been acting as an Advisor to the UK Cabinet Office on the COP26 nature campaign. Ruth writes extensively about the philosophy, politics and practice of environmentalism, and was awarded an MBE for services to the environment in 2014.



George is an award-winning writer and journalist well-known for his focus on environmental and political issues.

He writes a weekly column for The Guardian and has published a number of books including Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life. George is passionate about the state of our nations rivers and has crowdfunded to carry out a live investigative documentary into river pollution later this year.

He also narrated the viral video, How Wolves Change Rivers, based on his Ted Talk which discussed the restoration of ecosystems and landscape. George is also the founder of The Land is Ours, a campaign for the right of access to the countryside and its resources in the United Kingdom.



Lord John Randall served as a Conservative MP from 1997-2015 and was Government Deputy Chief Whip from 2010 to 2013. In 2017 he was appointed as Theresa May’s special adviser on the environment during her premiership. Lord Randall was created a life peer in 2018.

During his political career, Lord Randall has always been a passionate advocate for environmental issues. He is a member of the RSPB Council as well as a Trustee of other organisations including the Human Trafficking Foundation and the Bat Conservation Trust. During his time as MP, John also sat on the Environment, Transport and Rural Affairs Select Committee and strongly opposes the Heathrow Airport expansion as well as HS2.



Having grown up on the Suffolk Stour, Jeremy has become known for spending his time beside, on and in rivers: from the Amazon to the Zambezi – via the Danube, Congo, Ganges, Mississippi, Yangtze, and many others.

Along with this international perspective he brings a lifelong interest in fish and other underwater life, as documented in nine seasons of the TV show River Monsters (Discovery/Animal Planet/ITV). In its epilogue Mighty Rivers he looked at the role of apex predators as indicator species of river health – and at the ways, all over the world, people are starting to help rivers recover from neglect and maltreatment.



Isabella is founder and Managing Director of Seahorse Environmental, a specialist environmental PR, lobbying and corporate reputational consultancy. She has a corporate background at two of Europe’s leading communications consultancies, Burson-Marsteller and Maitland, where she headed up their environmental practice.

Isabella was Policy Adviser to Zac Goldsmith MP where she helped shape his polices; led the development of policy proposals to Government and managed his international environmental campaigns.

Isabella is Chair of UK100 and the co-founder of the All Party Group on Sustainable Finance. She also sits on the Steering Committee of the Conservative Environment Network and the International Grand Jury for Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge. In 2019, she was listed in PR Week’s 30 under 30. She graduated from the University of Southampton with a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and completed Oxford University’s Sustainable Finance course.



Prof Alastair Driver is one of the UK’s best known conservationists and is cited in “Who’s Who” for influence and distinction in the field of environmental conservation.

In 2022 and 2023 he was included in the ENDS Power List of the top 100 UK
environmental professionals who have made the greatest impact in the UK over the previous two years. Alastair was also the recipient of the world’s largest environmental award – the International Riverprize – on behalf of the Thames, in

He is one of the country’s leading proponents of re-wilding and is an expert naturalist and ecologist with 45 years’ professional experience and many hundreds of river and wetland conservation projects under his belt.
He became the first Conservation Officer for the Thames catchment in 1984 and went on to become the National Head of Conservation for the Environment Agency for England and Wales from 2002 – 2016.

Since 2016, he has been the Director of Rewilding Britain and plays a key role in
influencing government environmental policy at the highest level and establishing re-wilding projects in England and Wales.

Alastair also holds several pro bono roles, including Hon Prof at Univ of Exeter,
Specialist Advisor for the National Trust and Ambassador for the International
River Foundation.



Helen has been Chief Executive of the Soil Association since 2011. She is a Commissioner for the Food Farming and Countryside Commission and sits on the BBC’s Rural Affairs Advisory Committee.

Helen has had a number of roles in agri-politics over the years, including the Government’s Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food (‘the Curry Commission’).

Helen farms in partnership with her daughter and son in law on an organic farm in Wiltshire with dairy, beef, pigs, cereals, agroforestry and small scale veg/salads. They are experimenting with strip till/pasture cropping with Wildfarmed. Her products are sold through the Helen Browning’s Organic
brand in retailers as well as through her mini hotel and restaurant/pub on the farm.

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