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News & Press: News from Environmental Professionals

CEnv Selected as One of 12 Invisible Superheroes Helping to Shape the World We Live In

20 June 2018   (0 Comments)

Chartered Environmentalist, Kate Cairns, has been selected as one of 12 invisible superheroes that are helping to shape the world we live in.

Former Northumberland County Councillor, fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv), and professional speaker, Kate Cairns, has been turned into ‘Enviro’ as part of the Great North Engineering Experience. 

Kate, from Newton-by-the-Sea, was selected as one of the region’s unsung heroes with over two decades of experience in a variety of roles in the construction sector. She has lead on the inception and development of industry tools for improving sustainability and safety in civil engineering, infrastructure and the public realm. Following the death of her sister, Eilidh, run down by a tipper lorry, Kate has overcome adversity to bring changes to EU law, UK policy, and introduce new industry standards to eliminate lorry danger and protect the lives of others. 

Kate – or "Enviro" – said: “It is an honour to be chosen as one of the 12 invisible superheroes. The public is not always clear about the role of civil engineers and the younger generation is at risk of missing the enormous and diverse career opportunities available to people from all backgrounds. We are often are the invisible masterminds behind exciting projects and complex infrastructure on which families, communities and businesses rely every single day.

Reacting to this news, Dr Emma Wilcox, CEO of the Society for the Environment said: "It is wonderful to see Kate recognised for her achievements and we love our Chartered Environmentalists being thought of as superheroes – well deserved due to the outstanding work that they do for our environment. Kate is an inspirational example of how environmental professionals embed sustainability into their daily work and beyond."

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Kate continued: “It is wonderful that the Great North Engineering Experience is highlighting these engineers  – here today and those gone – showing we need diverse teams to design and build to meet the needs of communities today and in the future.”

The exhibition, which is being organised by local civil, mechanical and electrical engineering institutions, will offer a range of fun hands-on activities for children along with a series of talks and family-friendly lectures and will include interactive displays featuring virtual reality headsets, displays by Northern engineering companies as well an opportunity to find out about careers in engineering.

As part of the free experience, visitors can also enjoy a LEGO Timeline of Northern Innovation, which will be located in the Mining Institute. Local LEGO artist, Steve Mayes of Brick This, will tell the story of Northern innovation in over 40 intricate models, using 50,000 plastic bricks – and you can have a go at making your own.

The Great North Engineering Experience will run from June 22 to September 9, at the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineering on Westgate Road in Newcastle upon Tyne. The exhibit will be open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10am to 6pm and is suitable for all ages.

For more details, visit

Kate was awarded Excellent Supplier Performance for her “contribution to environmental, social and ethical responsibility” by Newcastle University in 2017. She has also achieved a Commendation for the Northern Power Woman ‘Person with a Purpose’ award 2015 and was shortlisted for the WISE Health and Safety award in 2015. 

Plus, as part of International Women in Engineering Day, The Daily Telegraph has recognised Kate among their Top 50 Women in engineering (WE50): Returners and Transferrers 2018. Find out more here.

News item adapted from Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) North East. ICE are licensed by the Society for the Environment to award their members with the CEnv registration. 

Professional bodies licensed to award the Chartered Environmentalist registration:

Society for the Environment
EC1.1 Enterprise Centre, Puma Way 
Coventry, West Midlands CV1 2TT.
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