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Scotland Scientific Advisory Forum

The Scientific Alliance Advisory Forum comprises experts from a broad range of sciences who contribute professional advice on specific environmental issues and provide broad guidance on the Scientific Alliance's general policies.

They have signed up to the Scientific Alliance's Declaration:

Scientific advances have provided, and will continue to provide, solutions to many environmental problems. While differences of opinion are welcome and, indeed, play a vital role in the development of both science and society, the Scientific Alliance is concerned about the many ways in which science is misinterpreted and at times misrepresented.

If optimal use is to be made of currently available resources, policies must be based upon sound and reliable information. The Scientific Alliance provides a forum for addressing environmental problems based on sound science.

The Scientific Alliance Scotland Advisory Forum members list:

Professor Anthony Trewavas FRS, FRSE (Chairman)

Tony Trewavas first degrees were a BSc and PhD gained at University College London. Thereafter, six years at the University of East Anglia were followed by 34 years at the University of Edinburgh.

He is an Emeritus Professor and has published   250 papers and three books. He is also a frequent Visiting Professor at universities in the USA, South America, Mexico, Germany, and Italy.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (London), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a member of  Academia Europea.

In addition, he is a Corresponding Member of the American Society of Plant Biologists (election limited to two foreign scientists per year and is now a fellow of the ASPB) and an  original member of ISI?s most highly cited researchers.

Edward Baxter

Edward Baxter read Agricultural Economics at Edinburgh before qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor with Savills in London. Since 1988 he has run a family farming business in East Fife now growing 4,500 tonnes of cereals for local markets. He has run a mixed organic farm, been a demonstration farmer for the Environmental Charity LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming http://www.leafuk.org/ ) since 2000 and Chaired LEAF in Scotland from 2001 to 2010. He is on the Council for SRUC (Scottish Rural Agricultural College) and is a founder member of the East Neuk Estates Group http://www.eastneukestates.co.uk/

Keith Burns CEng, FIMechE

Keith Burns is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering, University of Manchester,  a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a Chartered Engineer.  He did an engineering apprenticeship with Associated Electrical Industries, subsequently working on steam turbine blading design.  He carried out research at Imperial College into turbulent boundary layers with applications to gas turbine combustion chamber cooling and heat transfer modelling.  He was involved in the construction and commissioning of three UK prototype nuclear steam supply systems, subsequently moving to regulation and operation of nuclear plant in Scotland, latterly as Safety and Technical Manager at Torness Power Station.  Following retirement from full time employment he has carried out consultancy work in nuclear regulation and operation in Canada and the UK, and in China with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

He has a close interest in the pragmatic, economic achievement of carbon-free electricity and in the effectiveness and honesty of political decision making on technical and scientific matters.  He is also a mountaineer and touring cyclist.

Professor Bruce Alan Hobbs BSc PhD

Bruce Hobbs is a mathematician.  He was Assistant Professor at Laurentian University, Canada (1968-1970); undertook a Fellowship at Cambridge University in the period 1970-1971; and was an Academic in Geophysics at Edinburgh University between 1971-2009. He was co-founder and Director of spin-out company MTEM Ltd between 2004-2007. Thereafter he became Chief Scientist of Petroleum Geo-Services, 2007-2010.  He is currently a Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh.

Colin Gibson (Power Network Director, National Grid Group 1993-97)

Colin graduated in electrical engineering from Dundee College of Technology (now University of Abertay, Dundee, where he is an Honorary Fellow) in 1965.  He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, a Companion of the Chartered Managers Institute, and a Fellow of IESIS.

His working life has been spent in the electricity supply industry.  He was appointed to the Board of the National Grid Group in 1993 as Power Network Director with responsibility for the commercial development, system design, asset management and system operation of the England & Wales system.

Since leaving National Grid in 1997 he has carried out various advisory roles including with EirGrid as an expert witness in their Judicial Review with the Regulator, and with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development advising the Electricity Industry in Romania.  He has been a visiting lecturer at Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Durham, Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities.  He is currently a member of the Energy Strategy Group of IESIS, and is a technical advisor to the John Muir Trust and the Renewable Energy Foundation.

Professor Iain Macleod

Iain MacLeod graduated BSc and PhD in civil engineering at the University of Glasgow.  He had experience in practice as a Civil/Structural Engineer in Scotland and in Canada.  He taught at the University of Glasgow, was Head of Department of Civil Engineering at Paisley College of Technology, and from 1981 until his retirement in 2004, he was Professor of Structural Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.  He is (August 2014) President of IESIS, a Scottish multidisciplinary engineering institution.

He believes that the methods used by professional  engineers to achieve successful outcomes in contexts of complex uncertainty should be more widely adopted.  In particular the complexity and uncertainty in planning for the production and use of energy should be addressed using  best practice engineering/scientific principles.

Sir Donald Miller FREng, FRSE (Chairman, Scottish Power 1982-92)

Sir Donald Miller graduated in engineering at the University of Aberdeen in 1947 and served an extended apprenticeship with Metropolitan Vickers, Manchester. He was employed there on special projects including analysis of Swedish Grid ( the first long distance high power transmission system ), high voltage switchgear and large electrical machine design methods.  He moved to the British Electricity Authority for two years as System Planning and Technical Engineer for Surrey, Kent and Sussex to obtain experience of operating power systems.  He then joined Preece Cardew and Ryder (now Mott MacDonald) Consulting Engineers from 1955-66 working on the design and construction of electrical generating plant and power systems mainly overseas in the USA, Canada, West Africa, Sri Lanka and Greece, as well as on special projects such as resolving difficulties with the Blue trains when introduced on the Glasgow suburban network.

Sir Donald joined the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board in 1966 as Chief Engineer responsible for engineering operations including new generating plant design and construction (Cruachan, Foyers power station and Peterhead , the first gas fired power station in the UK).  He transferred to SSEB in 1973 as Director of Engineering, subsequently becoming General Manager prior to ten years as Chairman. During this period the SSEB successfully commissioned Longannet coal fired station as well as constructing Hunterston and later Torness nuclear plants. He also participated in the first survey of wind generation potential in Scotland.

Subsequent to retirement he has been active in business as a Director in the financial/ insurance field as well as Chairing the National Cycle Path Steering Committee, overseeing expenditure of some £50m nation-wide.

He was Knighted in 1990 for contributions to electricity supply in Scotland.  He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Institutions.  Sir Donald has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Aberdeen and Strathclyde.

Professor Jack Ponton FREng, Emeritus Professor of Engineering

Jack Ponton is an Emeritus Professor of Engineering, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Chemical Engineers (of which he is a past vice-president) and a chartered engineer although not currently registered.  His main research work and that of his group has been in mathematical modelling of complex engineering phenomena and software development. He has also worked in and with the chemical industry on a range of topics including health and safety issues.

A further research interest has been renewable and alternative energy: wave power, biofuels, hydrogen, ocean thermal energy and coal gasification with carbon capture.  More recently he became increasingly concerned with wind power. Forty years ago, a colleague and h carried out some simple calculations about the potential for wind power in the UK. They concluded that useful amounts of energy could not be obtained without covering most of the country with wind turbines. At the time they assumed that no one would consider doing anything quite so foolish.

Des Smith

We are in the process of compiling a biography for Des Smith and this will be added in the near future.

Dr Martin Stanton MIET, MInstP, FSoc Biol

Graduated in Cambridge (St. Catharine's College) in 1960 in the Physical Sciences of the Natural Sciences Tripos.   He then went into Biophysics research, first in Cambridge and then in St. Andrews University where he spent the rest of his career until retiral in 2003, serving at various stages as Lecturer in the Departments of Botany, Physiology and for 20 years in Physics and latterly held the title of Fellow of St. Salvator's College.   

His major contribution to science was his theoretical analysis, at Oxford on sabbatical, of how living cells produce the membrane resting potential, work published by the Royal Society in 1983.   Ph.D. (St. Andrews).   

Dr. Stanton has acquired professional charters in Electrical Engineering , namely MIET and in Physics, i.e. MInstP and in Biology, i.e. FSB.   He holds the NRPB Certificate in Radiation and Radioisotope Handling.   

Upon official retirement, Dr. Stanton turned his attention to a general study of all presently known means of generating electricity and comparing them for utility against economic and acceptability criteria.   

Dr. Stanton is a keen student of Economics and subscribes firmly to the insights of the free market private enterprise camp.   He is skeptical that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burn are a significant cause of the global warming of the industrial era and is concerned at dogmatic climate alarmism.

Current Issues


Future costs of UK energy supply

The Scientific Alliance recently published part 1 of an examination of National Grid's Future Energy Scenarios, dealing with security of supply. We are now pleased to publish part 2 - cost of supply. The authors - Dr Capell Aris and Colin Gibson - conclude that building more gas and nuclear stations would be considerably less expensive than any of the NG scenarios, as well as offering better energy security.

What's New

14 October 2016: Read the new report by Dr Capell Aris, published jointly with the Adam Smith Institute - Solar power in Britain: the Impossible Dream