Dame Glenys Stacey appointed as chair of the Office for Environmental Protection

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Dame Glenys Stacey, the former chair of the independent review of farm regulation, has been appointed as the Chair of the new Office for Environmental Protection.

Defra Secretary of State George Eustice invited both the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee and Environmental Audit Committee to hold a joint pre-appointment hearing and to report on the suitability of Dame Glenys for the post. The Select Committees held a public evidence session with Dame Glenys on Tuesday 15 December at 4.45pm. The Select Committees then published a report supporting Dame Glenys Stacey’s appointment as Chair-designate. Mr Eustice confirmed Dame Glenys Stacey’s appointment on the 23 December”.

One of the main provisions of the Environment Bill, currently progressing through Parliament, is to establish the Office for Environmental Protection.

The Office for Environmental Protection will provide scrutiny and advice on the implementation of environmental law. It will also monitor and report on progress against Environmental Improvement Plans and targets. It will also be able to receive and investigate complaints on alleged serious breaches of environmental law by public authorities. It will also be able to take legal action in serious cases if necessary as a last resort. The Environment Bill is expected to reach Royal Assent next year.

In the interim, Defra has confirmed that it will be establishing an Interim Environmental Governance Secretariat, which will be hosted in Defra and will operate from 1 January 2021 until the Office for Environmental Protection can begin its statutory functions following the passage and Royal Assent of the Environment Bill. These interim arrangements will also support the Chair of the Office for Environmental Protection.

Dame Glenys is known best to the farming sector for her role in chairing an independent review of farm regulation in 2019. Dame Glenys is currently (until 31 December) acting Chief Regulator at Ofqual, previously served as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation and as Chief Executive at Animal Health (now part of the Animal and Plant Health Agency). Most recently, Dame Glenys served as chair of the Professional Standards Authority.

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