The Independent Panel for the HS2 Community & Environment Fund and Business & Local Economy Fund makes the final decision on how large scale funding is awarded to projects and has oversight of the overall programme, led by the Panel’s Independent Chair. 

The Independent Panel dates for 2023 are:

15 March 2023
8 June 2023
14 September 2023
14 December 2023

About the Independent Panel

The Panel is made up of four Independent members, a representative of HS2 Ltd and the Independent Chair, working together via a Terms of Reference for the programme’s governance arrangements. 

The Panel was established in early 2017, following an open recruitment process by HS2 Ltd and Department for Transport. Following a further recruitment process at the end of 2019, Lisa Smart, John Roseveare, Talbinder Kaur and Karen McArthur were appointed as independent members with Cathy Elliott as independent Chair. Peter Miller, Environment Director for HS2 is a member of the Panel as HS2’s representative. 

Panel members have experience in the delivery of successful community-led environmental projects, a track record in providing advice and support to small and medium size businesses and experience of managing local government, voluntary, community and social enterprise sector grant programmes.

Talbinder Kaur retired in spring 2023 and her successor was appointed in late 2023 with further details of the appointment to be shared shortly. 

HS2 Fund Panel
L-R John Roseveare, Cathy Elliott, Talbinder Kaur, Lisa Smart, Louise Portelly (HS2) and Virginia Clements (Groundwork UK)

Cathy Elliott, Panel Chair

Cathy Elliott is Independent Chair of the CEF & BLEF Independent Panel which is a Department for Transport Ministerial appointment with High Speed 2 Ltd. Alongside this role she is Chair of the Integrated Care Board within West Yorkshire’s Health & Care Partnership, and a voluntary member of the Advisory Council for the arts organisation Tate Liverpool. 

Cathy was previously Chair of Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust; a Non-Executive Director for an NHS Trust in Greater Manchester; social policy advisor to non-profit organisations, including the national Power to Change Trust; and prior to that a regional Chief Executive and a national trustee in the community foundation movement. Cathy is a Senior International Fellow of the City University of New York’s Centre on Philanthropy & Civil Society; a Clore Social Leadership Fellow; and is currently studying as a West Yorkshire Health Equity Fellow via the School of Public Health at University of Leeds. 

Peter Miller, Environment Director, HS2 Ltd Panel member

Peter has worked on HS2 since Spring 2009. He joined HS2 Ltd in September 2010 and takes overall responsibility for the sustainability and environmental aspects of the HS2 Project.

Peter has led the planning and environmental development of HS2 assisting the project to evolve from a small development organisation through to a major project with its first legislative approval that will enable the first stage of HS2 to be built. In addition to planning and implementing the important environmental impact assessment work that underpins HS2 Peter initiated the CEF/BLEF and Design Panel through high level consultation with Ministers and NGOs. 

Peter has represented HS2 Ltd at the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee. Through Judicial Review as witness before the Courts to support the case for HS2 on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport and since 2013 has acted as Principal Environment Witness in Parliament before the Commons and Lords Special Select Committees for the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill. 

Peter’s railway career spans over 20 years, initially with British Rail as Environment Manager on the then Southern Region, practicing as a landscape architect. He managed the Board’s Community funded programme of works across that region including stations schemes for the Bournemouth to Weymouth Electrification project. 

He joined the Board’s Channel Tunnel Rail Link team and was responsible for managing the environmental design aspects of that project. He was instrumental in developing option appraisal techniques that are still used today and contributed environmental reports to Government on behalf of that project. He had responsibilities for the development of the CTRL Environmental Statement, the CTRL Bill and contributed to the environmental evidence provided to Parliament. He was responsible for ensuring the smooth transition of environmental requirements to the private sector consortium who took over CTRL from Government. 

Peter was deputy Environment Manager on Railtrack’s Thameslink 2000 Project responsible for that project’s Environmental Statement before leading Railtrack’s West Coast Route Modernisation environment programme.  He prepared the Statement of Case for the Railtrack (WCML) Order and acted as environmental witness before at public inquiry. His environmental evidence before the European Community and UK Treasury secured funding from the Trans European Network. 

Peter has worked as an independent environmental consultant for TfL’s West London Tram Project and the Northern Line Extension to Battersea.

John Roseveare, Panel member

John Roseveare is a Chairperson, Non-Executive Director (NED), Trustee, Treasurer and Director with over thirty-five years of executive and board level experience across the public, commercial and not for profit sectors with particular experience in the regeneration, place-making, culture and education industries.

John was a founding member of London-based third sector company Community Music Ltd in 1985. He has since worked as a Director for a local authority and founded innovative start-ups and consultancies including Front Yard Company, Parose Projects, and the Waterloo Green Trust. His main focus has been leading multi-disciplinary implementation teams for public sector clients. These have included Cross River Partnership, Southampton City Council, the Isle of Wight and the London Boroughs of Wandsworth and Haringey.

John champions public space, putting people at the centre of a difficult balancing act during a period of rapid change in Local Government. He is Chair of Brent Specialist Academy Trust, recently rated outstanding by OFSTED and winner of the SSAT’s National School of the Year award 2019. John sits as an independent member on the HS2 Community and Business Funds Independent Panel. He has a Coaching & Mentoring Qualification from Sheffield Hallam University and in 2019 gained the prestigious FT NED Diploma. John lives in Kensal Rise in North-West London

Lisa Smart, Panel member

Lisa Smart is the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Stockport Council where she also chairs the Corporate, Resource Management & Governance Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

Lisa is a Regional Lead Peer for the Local Government Association and holds various non-executive positions including as a Director of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, a Trustee of the Stockport Canal Boat Trust for Disabled People and as a school governor for over fifteen years. Previously, Lisa was Chief Executive of a charitable trust and held senior executive positions with several grant-making charities. She spent the first twelve years of her career in international investment management working with some of the world’s largest pension funds, charities and foundations.

Lisa graduated from the University of Durham with a maths degree and has an Executive MBA from London Business School.

Karen McArthur, Panel member

Karen McArthur has long experience as a grant maker including at the Nationwide Charitable Foundation where she led the formation of the multi award winning 3-year grant making programme. She was Vice Chair at MCS Foundation, a £6m novated charity to drive the take up of low carbon and renewable technology. Karen is a Trustee with British Gas Energy Trust.

She also has experience of social investment from her professional roles in CR/sustainability at Thomson Reuters, Vodafone and a social impact consultancy role with Microsoft.

Karen is an experienced and values driven professional with a portfolio of roles in public protection/consumer advocacy which include Chair/Adjudicator/Panel Member for Social Work England, Bar Standard Board, Chartered Institute Management Accountants, Teacher Regulation Agency as well as an independent member on the Armed Forces Service Complaints panel.

Karen is also a board member of London Travel Watch, the Welsh Housing Regulator and The Waterways Ombudsman.