The current Natural England board is:
- Andy Clements – stands down 13 July 2020
- Teresa Dent – stands down 13 July 2020
- Simon Lyster – stands down 13 July 2020
- Michael Winter – stands down 20 August 2020
- Catherine Dugmore
- Sue Hartley
- Henry Robinson
And so get your hankies out to wish a tearful farewell to the four departing board members: two nature conservationists, an academic and Teresa Dent. If any of them would like to write a guest blog about their greatest achievements on the board, or Natural England’s greatest achievements while they have been board members, I’d be very happy to publish it.
The newcomers from 1 June, and the DEFRA announcement:
Off go three men and one woman, and on come three women and one man.
At first glance, there is a conspicuous lack of professional conservation experience in the new Natural England board. But I think it looks pretty good all told. Teresa Dent will, of course, be missed but it’s possible that Natural England will be able to cope.
Kerry ten Kate is a bright person with bags of relevant experience. An economist who has been on the Natural Capital Committee is unlikely to swallow the drivel that comes from the grouse shooting fraternity and sorority. And Kerry has been an RSPB Council member for a while where she will already have formed some sort of view about Natural England.
And Peter Unwin is a sharp, astute and reliable ex civil servant (whom I know from years back). He was a Grade 2 in DEFRA at the time of swingeing cuts in 2010 and saw it all happening and how it happened. He will be a very useful advisor to Natural England, and to the CEO and Chair in particular, about how to play the Whitehall game. But also, he is one of the very few senior DEFRA officials in my experience who sought the jobs in nature conservation rather than in agriculture – he is a calm, cool-thinking nature conservationist himself.
I know nothing of Rosamund and Kim except what anyone can Google.
These things are very difficult to predict, but I would say that this board is heading in a favourable direction.