Emma Howard Boyd reappointed as Environment Agency chair

Emma Howard Boyd has been reappointed as the chair of the Environment Agency (EA) by Secretary of State Michael Gove, with her second term set to run until September 2022.

Emma serves on a number of boards and advisory committees which include:
ShareAction, Menhaden Capital, The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project and the Green Finance Institute

Emma serves on a number of boards and advisory committees which include: ShareAction, Menhaden Capital, The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project and the Green Finance Institute

Emma Howard Boyd was first appointed EA chair in September 2016 and also sits on the Defra board. She has previously held positions at the Aldersgate Group and Future Cities Catapult in recent years.

“It’s an honour to be reappointed as Chair of the Environment Agency,” Howard Boyd said. “This is a dynamic and challenging period for the environment as we seek to maximise the opportunities presented by the 25 Year Environment Plan and EU Exit and develop even stronger environmental protections for the future.

“Last year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for urgent global action to limit temperature rises. The next three years will be critical for all of us to ensure that the country is more resilient to extreme weather, minimising carbon emissions and protecting and enhancing the environment. I’m looking forward to working with all our partners to achieve the best we can. And I am proud to head an organisation which has such fantastic, professional and committed staff.”

The EA was established as a non-department public body under the 1995 Environment Act. It oversees responsibilities regarding flood management, water quality, land use, conservation and biodiversity, fisheries and air quality amongst other remits.

Consisting of a chair and nine members, the EA has struggled in recent months due to staff shortages. More than 400 staff have been moved from the EA and Natural England to work centrally on Brexit, a move that was condemned by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC). In fact, Natural England is also suffering from slashed budgets and an increasing workload.

Commenting on the re-appointment, Secretary of State Michael Gove said: “I am grateful for Emma’s strong leadership and achievements over her first term. She has played a crucial part in the Environment Agency’s vital work safeguarding our environment.

“I look forward to her continuing to enable delivery of our 25 Year Environment Plan which will leave the environment in a better state for future generations.”

25-Year plan

The 25-year Environment Plan pledges to eliminate all "avoidable" plastic waste by the end of 2042, as part of wider aims to improve the UK’s resource efficiency, biodiversity, air and water quality, and deliver ecological restoration.

The plan has pledged to set up a new environmental watchdog to hold Government to account for environmental standards post-Brexit, and set out a new approach to agriculture and fisheries management.

The Government has vowed to use a natural capital approach to help the UK see the economic benefits of maintaining a healthy environment. It will also create 500,000 hectares of new habitat for endangered species, and provide £5.7m to develop a new Northern Forest.

Matt Mace



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agriculture | Biodiversity | michael gove | Green Policy

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