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Getting to know Paul Ankrett, Senior Environmental Compliance Advisor

Meet the people behind our success as we unveil the stories, passions, and expertise of our dedicated team. Discover how their experience enables us to become a trusted environmental services partner for clients across the UK. This time, let's get to know Paul Ankrett, Senior Environmental Compliance Advisor.

What was your background before joining Adler & Allan?

Following 10 years spent in various engineering roles, I joined the fire service and spent the next 27 years working in the sector - including 8 years as Chief Fire Officer (CFO) at Birmingham Airport.

After my CFO role, I set up my own fire risk management company and was quickly contracted to Capita PLC as Technical Director to a £600m bid to take on and transform the MoD’s fire and rescue service. In that role, I helped design and implement the technical solution which incorporated the modernisation and re-equipping of the whole force. The assignment also included the formulation of integrated risk management plans (IRMPs) for UK strategic defence assets across the world. As a subject matter expert on firefighting foams, I also helped the MoD move away from the use of PFAS foams.

What made Adler & Allan stand out to you?

I became aware of Adler & Allan several years ago and noticed similarities between my approach to the crafting of IRMP solutions, and how Adler & Allan advise on, and provide, end-to-end environmental risk management solutions.

Not only is there additional overlap in the field of tertiary containment modelling, but a significant number of Adler & Allan's complex projects have emanated from fires, and some involve PFAS too.

How did you get involved with our environmental team?

I was first subcontracted to help with several Adler & Allan projects in support of tertiary containment modelling and fire risk management considerations.

It soon became clear that there were many opportunities to collaborate, as the design and implementation of pollution prevention solutions often touched on the subject of fire risk management too.

After several discussions, I decided to join Adler & Allan in a permanent role.

What is the biggest change you've seen in the industry?

I personally witnessed issues starting to emerge with per- and poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) with regard to firefighting foams from around 2001, together with issues relating to firefighter safety and the use of new technology to reduce those risks.

The firefighting industry can be very complex, so incorporating change requires very systematic and progressive steps, notwithstanding a lot of time, influence, and much patience.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

As Chief Fire Officer, I introduced fluorine-free firefighting foam to civil aviation whilst working at Birmingham Airport, despite there being much disagreement in the industry around this subject at the time.

This eventually became the industry standard across the UK and overseas, and I was able to also introduce this to most MoD sites, the RAF, and Royal Navy Air Stations to help improve the environmental footprint of the UK.

What excites you about coming to work?

I see any opportunity where you can reduce risk to the environment, people, and important infrastructure as a good day at work!

Adler & Allan have a far-reaching and positive influence not only in responding to serious environmental incidents, but they also play an increasingly pivotal role in helping businesses to prevent them in the first place. I’m excited about being a part of that moving forwards!

Looking ahead, what excites you most about 2024?

The issues surrounding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have featured in my career for a long time, hence the transition many years ago to fluorine-free firefighting foams.

Now that there is growing international resolve to restrict the use of PFAS and to rectify the negative impacts of decades of its use, I’m hugely excited by the prospect of being able to use my experience at Adler & Allan to help customers with their PFAS transition and remediation plans.

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