Environment and Sustainability Manager Masters Law to Deliver a Sustainable Future for Tilhill

Tilhill is proud to announce our Environment and Sustainability Manager Nicola Abbatt graduated with a distinction in Environment and Law after a challenging couple of years studying a Master of Laws alongside her full-time role at Tilhill 

Nicola has been a key driver the past decade in sustainability assessments, quality assurance and delivering safety, environmental and quality improvement projects within Tilhill. 

Find out more about Nicola’s achievements and how it will benefit the Company and wider BSW Group’s forestry division in this Q&A: 

Nicola pictured with her son at her graduation ceremony

Q. Nicola, why did you decide to do a Master of Laws?

A. Protecting the environment to deliver a sustainable future is at the heart of my career and environmental law is about protecting and improving our environment.  

Environmental law sits within a complex and evolving regulatory landscape including human rights, criminalisation and civil liability.  Studying at the Lancaster University Law School allowed me to deep dive into areas relevant to my work and improve my understanding of legal theory which underpins our legal system. I would not usually find time to do this in my day job.  

My work often involves incident investigation responding to and liaising with environmental regulators alongside looking for ways to improve our work to prevent harm and to contribute to positive change. Over the past few years, I have become increasingly interested in regulatory responses; the differences between regulation in England, Scotland and Wales and comparisons across sectors.  

It was these aspects combined that motivated me to complete this Masters. 

Q. What do you feel you have learnt from your studies and how will it benefit the company?

A. I’ve a greater understanding of legal theory and how environmental regulation has evolved. It has provided me with additional insight into the effectiveness of different regulatory responses. My studying included sustainable development, director’s responsibilities and changing regulation around corporate sustainability reporting. This all supports my work for Tilhill and the BSW Group Forestry Division (includes Maelor Forest Nurseries, Dick Brothers and CarbonStore) in areas such as collaboration with environmental regulators, advice around disclosures, and supporting colleagues to assure good governance and improve our environmental performance.  

My dissertation involved research into whether environmental regulation presented significant barriers for sustainable forestry and timber production in the UK; given the UK Government’s 25-year Environment Plan requiring a balance of benefits for environmental, social, and economic aspects for forestry.  

Some of the research looked at the influence of social media and highlighted how public misconceptions played out in this forum, affecting productive forest management, and impacting on regulatory responses. It gave me a greater insight into the steps we can take to improve perceptions and challenge assumptions in the forestry sector.