The current chairman, Sir John Harman, is set to stand down at the end of June after eight years’ service.

Lord Smith is a former Labour Minister and currently chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Appointments to the post are decided by Ministers but must be based on merit and ability rather than political activity and must be approved by a watchdog the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Lord Smith said: “I have been committed to raising the profile of environmental issues for more than twenty years, during which time the environment has risen to become one of the top priorities for Government and the public. I am looking forward to leading the Environment Agency at a challenging time as it takes practical steps both to protect the environment and adapt to climate change.”

He began his political career as a local Councillor for Islington in the late 1970s and from 1997 to 2001 was Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

He was appointed to the House of Lords after standing down as an MP in 2005.

Sam Bond

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