Stephanie Hilborne OBE has announced she is stepping down as Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts in October. It is a role that she has held for 15 years, leading The Wildlife Trust movement and championing its beliefs and vision.
Under Hilborne’s leadership The Wildlife Trusts successfully campaigned for the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. This, and subsequent lobbying has led to ninety-one Marine Conservation Zones being designated around England’s coasts and some real and lasting protection for marine wildlife.
On her arrival in 2004 from Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Hilborne was aware of mounting ambition in the movement, not least the vision to restore 40,000 hectares of upland Wales and vast tracts of the Cambridgeshire fens. In 2006, she launched The Wildlife Trusts’ vision for nature's recovery – Living Landscapes – in Westminster, with all the Trusts and 140 MPs. This called for landscape-scale change and led to the Labour Government commissioning a new Government Review in 2009. The Lawton Review Making Space for Nature made an uncontested case for a new approach to nature conservation calling for much larger areas of wildlife habitats. Seeking legislation to implement this, Hilborne led the lobbying for a Natural Environment White Paper which was published by the coalition Government in 2011.