Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, today confirmed Poul Christensen as Chair of Natural England, the statutory body with responsibility for the enhancement and management of the natural environment.
The appointment will begin on 3 December 2009 and last until 31 December 2012.
Mr Christensen has been the Acting Chair of Natural England since the untimely death of Sir Martin Doughty, in March 2009. The Government announced Mr Christensen as the preferred candidate in August.
Announcing the appointment, Mr Benn said:
"I am delighted to confirm Poul Christensen as Chair of Natural England. Throughout his time on the Board and as Acting Chair, Poul has shown his passionate commitment to the natural environment and to protecting and enhancing our habitats and wildlife. I greatly look forward to working with him as the new Chair."
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee held a public hearing on 25 November to consider Mr Christensen's suitability for the post. In their report published on Wednesday 2 December, the Committee said:
"We are satisfied that Poul Christensen has the professional competence, rigour and integrity required for the post of Chair of Natural England and that he will be well-placed to lead the organisation. We therefore welcome his nomination and encourage the Secretary of State to make the appointment. We wish Mr Christensen every success in his new post."
This appointment was made in accordance with the code laid down by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The Commissioner is independent of the Government and was appointed to follow up certain recommendations of the Nolan Committee.
All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. Mr Christensen has not declared any political activity.
Notes to editors
1. The Select Committee's report can be found at: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmenvfru.htm
2. The remuneration is £72,740 per annum for a time commitment of three days per week. The appointment is pensionable.
3. Mr Poul Christensen CBE farms in a family partnership at Kingston Hill Farm, in Oxfordshire. A founder of the Tenant Farmers Association in 1981, he has served as Chair for many agricultural organisations and is a former president of the Federation of Agricultural Co-operatives. He is currently a board member for Agricultural Central Trading and has served as a non-executive director on the Defra management board since June 2007. Mr Christensen, currently Acting Chair, has been Deputy Chair and a Board Member of Natural England since 2006. Mr Christensen was awarded the CBE in 1991 for services to agriculture and the commercial development of the Agricultural Development Advisory Service (ADAS).
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