Tony Juniper CBE appointed as Natural England chair

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Environment Secretary Michael Gove has today confirmed Tony Juniper CBE as the new Chair of Natural England.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

Tony will bring great experience and passion to Natural England from a career dedicated to conservation from his role at WWF to advising the Prince of Wales.

Natural England has a key part to play in the government’s 25 year plan for the environment and ensuring we can protect nature for future generations.

That is why I am looking forward to working with Tony as he leads the organisation and ensures Natural England can continue delivering the government’s environmental priorities.

Tony Juniper said:

Natural England’s vital role in defending and enhancing our nation’s natural environment has never been more important. It is a real honour to have been appointed as the new Chair and I am very much looking forward to working with the Natural England teams and many partners across the country in delivering the biggest possible positive impact that we can.

Natural England’s work is very wide ranging, from protecting our National Nature Reserves to advising farmers and from opening England’s new coastal path to ensuring greater public access to our wonderful natural areas.

As Chair, my aim will be to celebrate, protect and deepen the impact of Natural England’s excellent work, not only for the sake of our wildlife and beautiful landscapes, but also for the huge benefits that our success brings for society.

Lord Blencathra, Deputy Chair of Natural England, said:

All of us in Natural England are excited that we will be led by Tony Juniper, one of the UK’s most outstanding environmental champions. Over three decades he has developed a strong track record of working for a more sustainable environment.

We are all looking forward to being inspired to achieve even greater things under his leadership and give a tremendous lift to the 25 Year Environment Plan.

The appointment follows the EFRA and EAC committees’ joint report into Tony’s suitability for the role, published on the 1 March, and a public hearing with the committees held on the 26 February.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.

There is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if significant) to be made public. Tony made a political declaration to the Efra and EAC Committees in which he declared that he was a member of the Green Party, but he did not declare any significant political activity in the past five years. Following the hearing with the Committees Tony has confirmed he will not remain a member of the Green Party whilst he is Natural England Chair.

Tony will take up the role on the 23 April.

Tony Juniper biography

  • Tony Juniper CBE is currently Executive Director for Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF-UK and President of Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and is standing down from these positions with confirmation of his appointment. He is a Fellow of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and former advisor to the Prince of Wales.
  • He began his career working as an ornithologist with Birdlife International and for many years worked with Friends of the Earth, most recently as Executive Director and Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International.
  • He is a prolific author publishing many books, including the award-winning best seller ‘What has Nature Ever Done for Us?’
  • In 2017 Tony was recognised for his services to conservation with a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Natural England

  • Natural England is a non-departmental public body, set up under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006.
  • Natural England is the government’s statutory adviser for the natural environment in England, helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide.
  • Its general purpose as set out in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 is to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development.
  • Natural England plays a key role in delivering the environmental priorities of central government, including the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.
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