Sunrise over Rockford Common in the New Forest National Park in Hampshire, England

Office for Environmental Protection takes shape

First non-executive members appointed and base created in Worcester.
10 June 2021 , Katie Coyne

The first four non-executive members have been appointed to the new Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) – three with links to the Environment Agency (EA).

The four will join chair Dame Glenys Stacey, whose appointment was announced at the end of last year. The new members are Paul Leinster, Julie Hill, Professor Richard Macrory, and Professor Dan Laffoley. The first three all have previous links with the EA.

The OEP’s remit is to protect environmental standards post-Brexit, replacing the European Commission, which had responsibility for this role but no longer has jurisdiction since the UK left the European Union.

The OEP is due to be established by the delayed Environment Bill currently going through UK Parliament, though the Worcester-based office is being set up in readiness in an interim, non-statutory form, from next month.

Dame Stacey said the new members brought a wealth of environmental knowledge and experience. She added: “We will begin work together imminently, setting our ambitions and goals at the highest level so as to make the most difference, on behalf of current and future generations.”

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said the UK government, through the Environment Bill, will ensure the OEP is “strong and independent” that holds it to account.

Hill is chair of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), chair of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) and deputy chair of the advisory committee for social science for the Food Standards Agency. Past roles include director of the Green Alliance, and board member of the Eden Project, the Environment Agency and the Consumer Council for Water.

Prof Macrory is an emeritus professor of environmental law at University College, London, where he set up the Centre for Law and the Environment. He has also practised as a barrister at Brick Court Chambers in London, and is a former EA board member and former member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Macrory was the founding editor of the Journal of Environmental Law.

Leinster provides environmental consultancy to the public and private sector and is a former EA chief executive, and was professor of environmental assessment at Cranfield University. He is chair of chair of Water Resources East, the Bedfordshire Local Nature Partnership, the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, and housing association BPHA, and board member of Flood Re and Delphic HSE.

Prof Laffoley is marine vice chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Commission on Protected Areas, and previously was involved with the marine conservation work of Natural England and English Nature.

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