Lesley Henderson is a member of an expert interdisciplinary team who will be reviewing scientific research on marine plastic pollution to help Defra identify gaps in knowledge and set future research priorities. This follows on from her membership of the SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) working group on microplastics to provide independent scientific advice to shape European Commission policy. As the only Sociologist on the working group this provided a unique opportunity for her to work with natural scientists and environmental psychologists. Lesley explained “there is considerable public concern about microplastics and plastics pollution but we still don’t know enough about human actions, media reporting or social practices. Sociology can help develop solutions”. The peer reviewed ‘Scientific Report on Microplastics in Nature and Society’ (January 2019) concludes with policy ‘options’ for all 27 EU member states and Dr Henderson was an expert participant in the formal ‘handover’ in a 2- day workshop at the European Commission, Brussels. This report is already cited in the European Chemicals Agency policy report which recommends restrictions on intentionally added microplastics. Canada’s Chief Science Advisor and the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, convened a Microplastics Meeting on 13 February 2019 in Washington D.C. to discuss the report findings.
Dr Henderson was a member of the EPSRC, UKRI expert panel for Creative Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminating Plastic Waste (institutional grants worth £8 million). She is an invited member of the European Science Foundation peer review college . She secured two prestigious Association of Commonwealth Universities Blue Charter fellowships and is currently working with colleagues in Sri Lanka and Nigeria on social change concerning plastic pollution.
Lesley Henderson is a member of the Institute for the Environment, Health and Societies and in Sociology and Communications, Department of Social and Political Sciences.