From 1989 Stuart headed all the RSPB's policy work, including Government affairs, land use, planning and development casework, marine and species matters. He trained in strategic business management at Henley and became the Director of RSPB Scotland in 1994.
He is a member of the RSPB's UK Board and leads a team of some 350 full-time staff. His team manage a diverse conservation estate of 78,000 hectares, much of which is farmed in hand, or managed with graziers, crofters, woodland managers and other local partners.
Stuart has participated in many Scottish Government forums and groups including the Government's Rural Development Council which he chaired. He was a member of the Crown Estates' Scottish advisory panel, the National Trust for Scotland Council, the Scottish Natural Capital Executive Committee, and the Scottish Power's Environmental Forum.
Since January 2021, Stuart has been Chair of Trustees of the Scottish Seabird Centre, a Scottish charity registered with OSCR, and he is a trustee of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest Trust charity. He is also a trustee of the Gillman Trusts a small Scottish charity that funds environmental education and conservation activities.
Stuart has authored many articles for newspapers and magazines, and blogs about his work. He is the co-author of the RSPB Handbook of Scottish Birds.
Stuart was awarded an OBE for services to nature conservation and biodiversity in 2005 and in 2009 was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) for services to agriculture and conservation.
He lives in Edinburgh and is a member of the National Trust for Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, British Trust for Ornithology, Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, Plantlife, Butterfly Conservation, Scottish Ornithologists Club and the RSPB. In his spare time Stuart enjoys travel, visiting museums and art galleries, watching rugby and supporting conservation projects overseas. Stuart is steadily introducing his grandchildren to the wonders of the natural world starting with the garden birds and ‘beasties’ that can be found in and around Edinburgh and Perth.
Stuart will step down from his role at RSPB Scotland at the end of May 2017 and leaves the RSPB in October 2017.