Treasury director Philip Duffy has been appointed as the new chief executive of the Environment Agency and will start in the role from 1 July.
He takes over from Sir James Bevan, who has has held the post since November 2015 and steps down at the end of this month. Environment Agency executive director for local operations John Curtin will be chief executive in the interim.
In one of his final speeches, Sir James set out the challenge ahead for his successor. Sir James warned that the UK’s efforts to improve water quality are “flatlining” and has challenged water companies, farmers, regulators, the government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civilians to each play their part in tackling the issue.
Duffy has had a long career in the civil service and most recently held the post of director general of growth and productivity at HM Treasury. In this position he led work on the environment, transport, productivity, business support and culture, overseeing the Treasury’s work on spending and policies to create sustainable growth across the UK. He has also previously held the post of chief operating officer at the Border Force, where has was awarded a CBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours.
His appointment follows a competitive round of recruitment.
In his new role, Duffy will be responsible for leading the Environment Agency in tackling a variety of challenges in protecting the UK’s environment and climate.
Commenting on his appointment, Duffy said: “I am delighted to be taking on leadership of the Environment Agency. The agency’s mission – to protect and enhance the environment and support sustainable development – has never been more critical.
“The agency can be proud of its record. And as it approaches its 30th anniversary, I look forward to hearing from all sides about what should come next and what more the organisation could do to make this the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than it inherited.”
Environment Agency chair Alan Lovell said: “We’re very excited to have Philip joining the Environment Agency. As climate change and population growth increase the pressures on England’s precious resources, we have a vital role delivering for people, nature and the economy. Philip brings considerable experience from the Treasury and will head up a truly excellent executive team.
“The board and I are grateful to Sir James for his leadership over the last seven years and look forward to building on strong foundations to help the Environment Agency deliver even more in the years to come.”
Environment secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “I want to thank Sir James for his service as chief executive of the Environment Agency over the last seven years.
“I congratulate Philip on his appointment and look forward to working with him as we continue to deliver on our shared national endeavour to improve the environment.”
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