Aquatera announces major restructure and new director as company evolves

April 29th 2021

Orkney based environmental and sustainable energy company Aquatera has embarked on a major restructuring of its activities to create a new Aquatera Group structure covering the 15 businesses that it operates and participates in. Gareth Davies will lead the group in a new role as Chairperson of Aquatera Group and Gavin Barr will be the new Managing Director of the Group’s Orkney based consultancy arm Aquatera Ltd.

Aquatera was launched in 2000 with to delivery new and improved ways of managing environmental and social interactions associated with industrial and economic development.  The Company has now delivered over 900 projects across a wide range of sectors, working for governments, industry and communities in over 40 countries around the World.

The new group structure will help co-ordinate and deliver the increasingly broad range of activities being undertaken by Aquatera and its global delivery partner network.  Aquatera Group will be structured around four key pillars: delivering commercial consultancy services; research and advocacy; innovation management; and the delivery of commercial sustainable development ventures.

Gareth Davies, the founder and present MD of Aquatera Ltd, will progress to a Group Chairperson role, with ongoing involvement in the delivery of certain projects and activities as well as providing overall strategic vision and guidance.

In light of this change for Gareth, Aquatera is delighted to announce the appointment, from August this year, of Gavin Barr as the new Managing Director for Aquatera Ltd, the major consultancy services arm of the Aquatera Group.   

Gavin will be joining the Company Board currently comprising Ian Hutchison, Gaynor Jones and Ian Johnstone, with Gareth still involved through his Group Chairperson role.
Gavin will be leading a consultancy team of over 30 staff with supporting associates and delivery partners from Aquatera’s Stromness headquarters.  

Gareth Davies, present MD of Aquatera and Chair of Aquatera Group commented:

“Myself, the Aquatera Board and the wider Aquatera team are delighted that Gavin will be joining us later in the summer to help push forwards Aquatera’s progressive services to support the response to the climate emergency and COVID recovery, as well as contributing to the ongoing and ongoing challenges of balancing sustainable development and achieving good environmental stewardship.”

“Over the last 20 years our team has worked to establish a platform of experience, talent, tools and capacity to help address some of the key challenges faced by communities, businesses and governments.  We are now ready to expand our team of expertise to meet the growing needs for the support and services that we can provide around the World.” 

Gareth went on to explain:

“Gavin’s background in the consultancy sector and his wide experience of planning and development activities, as well as his unwavering commitment to the principles of sustainability, were factors that made him an excellent fit for this crucial role in Aquatera’s consultancy business.  Gavin’s appointment will greatly strengthen and broaden our team’s capability and will enable us to build further capacity in the months and years ahead.  Gavin’s appointment will also allow me to better focus on the hugely exciting and important projects and initiatives that are happening across the wider Aquatera Group. “  

Gavin will join Aquatera in August after over 14 years with Orkney Islands Council. He started with OIC as a planning manager and was then appointed Executive Director of Development and Infrastructure in 2012.

The Council’s Interim Chief Executive John Mundell said:

"Gavin has made a tremendous contribution to the work of the council since he joined the organisation in 2007.  While I am pleased that he will be taking on such an important role with a prominent local company, I am very sorry he is leaving us. He will be greatly missed.

“On behalf of Elected Members and Council colleagues, I wish Gavin all the very best when he takes up his new career over the months ahead.”

Reflecting on the move himself Gavin Barr said: 

“It has been a great privilege to work with colleagues and Elected Members during my time with the Council and I am very thankful for the support they have provided and the opportunities that my roles have given me. I am also immensely proud of the work that has been undertaken across D and I in providing core and lifeline services for our community and in the many successes that the team have achieved.  I wish the team all success in their future endeavours. 

“I very much hope and look forward to being able to continue to contribute and work alongside current colleagues after the summer under the wider “Team Orkney” banner.    In that regard I am exceptionally pleased to have the opportunity to join Gareth and the Aquatera team at this time of immense opportunity for environmentally responsible and progressive development and innovation activities locally in and around Orkney, and globally.”

Aquatera’s present diverse and growing consultancy workload includes: the ground-breaking ReFLEX project; supporting the UK and Indonesian Governments with carbon transition; global community development initiatives; cluster building in the blue economy; environmental survey and EIA work for a wide range of projects; environmental interpretation work; innovative port and shipping projects; long term support to the wave and tidal sector; extensive energy system modelling work worldwide and a host of other environmental and sustainable energy and wider sustainable development projects.  


Notes to editor:

For more information, please contact Anna Marriott at

Photos in order of appearance: Aquatera Ltd staff; Gareth Davies, current Managing Director of Aquatera Ltd and Chair of Aquatera Group; Gavin Barr, the new Managing Director for Aquatera Ltd