Natural England chairman to stand down in 2019

Natural England’s chairman Andrew Sells has announced his intention to retire in January 2019 after five years in the role.

Sells has held the position of Natural England chairman since January 2014.

Announcing his retirement, he said it had been a “huge privilege and a pleasure” to serve as chairman.

“Thanks to the highly capable and committed staff, the organisation has changed for the better.

During my tenure, we have tried to work much more with people to achieve shared outcomes and moved closer to the people we work with through a devolved area structure.

“We have radically reformed our licensing activities; we have published our Conservation Strategy and have been instrumental in shaping the Government’s 25-year Plan for the Environment; we have advised on 90 Marine Conservation Zones and we have made long strides towards completing a path around England’s coast.

“I would also like to thank the Secretary of State, for leading the Government’s commitment to improving the environment within a generation, and James Cross – our chief executive – for his drive, determination and tireless hard work to reform our organisation.”

Passion for the environment

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said Sells’ energy and commitment have been “exceptional” throughout his time as chairman.

Natural England’s chief executive James Cross added: “I want to thank Andrew for all his hard work leading Natural England’s dedicated staff and volunteers across the country.

“Natural England’s great achievements over recent years are a testament to Andrew’s driving passion for reforming Natural England and protecting our environment.”

The recruitment process for a new chairperson will commence shortly.