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Association History

During the 1990s, a number of international conferences established who the specialists involved in the development of of wetland technology in the UK and Internationally were. At that time this was a new technology and there were no established commercial practitioners.

The Water Research Council (WRc) and the water companies had resolved to monitor development of the technology in the UK and it seemed sensible to explore the possibility of concurrently developing an association of those who were already involved and those who were contemplating the development and exploitation potential of wetland technology.

The concept of the Constructed Wetland Association was initiated between David Cooper from ARM Ltd and Paul Cooper from WRc and discussed with Eric May from Portsmouth University at the 1998 IAWQ Wetland Conference in Sao Paulo, Brasil. In October 1999 ARM brought together a group of people who were involved and an interested in the development of Constructed Wetland Technology.

Inaugral Meeting 1999

Inaugral meeting at ARM in October 1999

(Left to Right) Stewart Moir (Scottish Agricultural College), David Cooper (ARM Ltd), Steve Last (Aspinwall), Humayon Chaudrai (Anglian Water), Paul Cooper (WRc), Stan Blundell (Blundell Reeds), Peter Randerson (Cardiff University), Neil Willoughby (ARM Ltd).

The Establishment of the Constructed Wetland Association, February 2000.

first meeting 2000_2first meeting 2000_3

A second larger meeting of interested parties took place in February 2000 to establish the association. Aims and objectives were discussed and there was a general agreement and commitment to establishing the association. Severn Trent donated £2350 and ARM £1000, this seedcorn helped the CWA start-up.


Joe Biddlestone (Birmingham University)
Ken Gray (Birmingham University)
Stan Blundell (Blundell Reeds)
Humayan Chaudhri (Anglian Water)
David Cooper (ARM Ltd)
Neil Willoughby (ARM Ltd)
David Barrett (ARM Ltd)
Paul Cooper (PFC Consulting)
Ben Green (Consultant )
Louise Halestrap (CAT)
Kestrel Maranta (CAT)
James McLeod (WoSWA)
Chris Weedon (Watercourse Systems Ltd)
Phillip White (Yarningdale Nurseries)
Hayden Williams (Cardiff University)
Neil Heath (Cardiff University)


Peter Brewer (Wessex Water)
Paul Griffin (Severn Trent)
Eric Haywood (SAC)
Stuart Moir (SAC)
Rick Hudson (Cress Water)
Eric May (Portsmouth University)
Richard Phelps (Fife Council)
Howard Robinson (Enviros Aspinwall)
Steve Last (Enviros Aspinwall)
Brian Shutes (Middlesex University)
First meeting 2000
First meeting 2000

The First Committee

Joe Biddlestone (Professor of Engineering at Birmingham University). His vast experience and involvement on academic committees made him an obvious chairman.

Paul Cooper had been involved in reed bed development at the WRc was also an obvious choice for the committee. He had the experience of being the IAWQ (later IWA) macrophyte group secretary and took the role of secretary for the CWA.

Paul Griffin had just taken over from Ben Green at Severn Trent Water, who were the largest user of reed beds in terms of the number of sites on which they operate reed beds. Having a representative from a user of wetlands such as Severn Trent on the committee would add credibility.

David Cooper from ARM Ltd represented the commercial exponent of constructed wetland technology in the UK and took the role of treasurer for the CWA committee.

Numerous committee meetings, AGM’s works shops and seminars took place during the first decade.