Meet the team

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Councillor Sarah Dyke
Environment Portfolio Holder

As portfolio holder for the environment at SSDC I am passionate about the work we are doing to create a safer more sustainable and indeed even more beautiful South Somerset. I love where I live and know you do too, so I'm really passionate about the role I play at SSDC to deliver green projects and initiatives to our countryside, communities and businesses. In our environment strategy we said we wanted to be the first generation to leave the planet in a better state than we found it and that is what we will do, together, if we all do our bit and live kinder more sustainable lives.

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Katy Menday,

Leisure & Rec Manager

After a few years teaching field studies post-graduation, I started work at Ham Hill as an assistant ranger, working with all sorts of groups and developing events. I understand how important natural greenspaces are for human health but that more must be done to conserve species and habitats for the future. Bringing an ecological background I co- lead delivery of the Environment Strategy with Vicki and the wider team.

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Vicki Dawson,

Environment Lead Specialist

I've worked in Environmental Health for over 30 years, mostly specialising in Environmental Protection.  For the last 2 years I've been co-lead in delivering our Environment Strategy.  I have a keen interest in the Environment and am passionate about helping the Council and the community drive down its carbon footprint, protect its biodiversity and address the impacts of the climate and ecological emergency.

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Cara Naden,

Environment Specialist

I’ve been working in the environment sector for about 20 years since graduating from Goldsmiths with a degree in Eco Design. Most of this time I’ve worked with many communities and organisations in South Somerset, and across the county, helping to support all on our journeys to carbon neutrality.  I am particularly experienced in, and passionate about, eco living, eco building and renovation, electric transport, waste reduction/reuse and renewable energy. I also love tree and hedge planting (and laying) and engaging with nature. As SSDC’s Environment Specialist I’m here to help deliver the environment strategy and support the council and community get to carbon neutrality by 2030.

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Josh Bennett,

Environment Specialist

My background is in agriculture and environmental policy, where my master’s degree led me to the area of species reintroduction and restoration within the UK, and included consultation on beaver reintroduction, peat bog and river restoration. I’m passionate about my role in the environment team, and how it will help enable our communities to restore and conserve the natural environment, where we progress our district to be in a better state than we found it, and where it is protected and enhanced for the future.

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Laurence Copleston
Climate Change Officer

I have been working in the environment sector for over 10 years, having completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Management. Since then, I’ve been working as an Environmental Consultant, specialising in Environmental Impact Assessment and Planning, and working on a range of renewable energy and transportation projects in the South West. I have a keen interest in the environment and am passionate about finding ways to help reduce our carbon footprint and protect biodiversity. As SSDC’s Environment and Climate Change Officer I’m here to help deliver the environment strategy and support the council and community get to carbon neutrality by 2030.”

Lorraine Hemmings,
Environment Communications Officer

My background is in marketing and PR. I worked for a natural pet food brand for 17 years, and I've been at SSDC since 2019 as a communications officer.

My role within the environment team is to promote environmental information and news as well as showcase the amazing environment projects happening at SSDC and in our communities.  By sharing knowledge and good practice and influencing positive behaviour change,  we can all be environment champions where we live, learn, inform and inspire each other to live more kindly and ultimately create a more sustainable South Somerset.