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the GiGLer

The newsletter of Greenspace Information of Greater London CIC

Interview, Tony Burton

GiGL’s Board of Directors are central to our work and our success. Their commitment and expertise helps guide GiGL and keeps us moving forward and developing. Directors are on the front line of biodiversity and open space work in the capital. They are GiGL service users and contribute to our data banks, as well as serving as ambassadors for GiGL.

Tony joined GiGL’s Board in October 2018. As well as his position of GiGL Director he is Vice Chair of Big Lottery Fund and a trustee for The Conservation Volunteers and Friends of the Earth, amongst others.


Town or countryside?

Both – and doing what we can to bring more of the benefits of nature and green space into towns.

Summer or winter?

Winter; it’s always easier to get warm than cool down, and nothing beats a winter run.

Tony Burton

Early bird or night owl?

Early bird for work and night owl for volunteering.

Outdoor or indoors?

Fresh air fiend – open the window!

Plants or animals?

I enjoy my collection of carnivorous plants.

What species is closest to your heart and why?

I wondered if this was a trick question, so checked the definition of “species” in taxonomic rank and concluded… diving seabirds, for the drama.

What is your favourite Greater London open space and why?

The Wandle Valley for its unique combination of wildlife, open space and heritage linking the River Thames to the North Downs.

Wandle Meadow Nature Park

View along the Wandle Trail at Wandle Meadow Nature Park (c) Ian Yarham

Who or what inspires you?

True wilderness and raw nature, and deep space.

What might someone be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a cracking orienteer.

How did you first get involved with / hear about GiGL?

In my roles with many different organisations I receive a lot of reports from all over and I wondered where all the data and analysis behind maps and graphics were coming from. I found there was one source… GiGL.

What past experiences will you draw upon in your work for the GiGL Board?

I’m a serial campaigner and networker in environmental and community charities. I was formerly Deputy Director of CPRE (The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) and then Director of Strategy and External Affairs at The National Trust. I’m currently on the Board of Friends of the Earth and TCV (The Conservation Volunteers), founder of Civic Voice, Vice Chair of Big Lottery Fund, Chair of the Wandle Valley Forum, Trustee for CPRE London, Secretary of my local civic society, and convener of Neighbourhood Planners.London and Independent Merton Green Spaces Forum.

What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities for biodiversity in Greater London? What future role do you see for GiGL and other Local Environmental Records Centres?

A growing city can only function if it grows with nature. While GiGL should therefore be needed more than ever before, we have to keep on our toes and anticipate the future.

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