Press release

Environment Agency Board appointments

The Secretary of State appoints Emma Howard Boyd as Deputy Chair and re-appoints John Varley, Karen Burrows and Peter Ainsworth.


Existing member Emma Howard Boyd will take up the post of Deputy Chair from 1st July 2015 for four years. Re-appointments have been confirmed for John Varley, Karen Burrows and Peter Ainsworth.

Board members provide non-executive leadership challenge and support to the executive through regular Board meetings, committees and groups. They also undertake individual lead roles on relevant issues and with local operational teams.

John Varley has been reappointed to 30th September 2019. Karen Burrows and Peter Ainsworth have both been reappointed to 31st August 2018.

All non-Executive appointments to the Environment Agency Board are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. The appointments comply with the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

The Environment Agency is a Non-Departmental Public Body, set up under the Environment Act 1995 to take an integrated approach to environmental protection and enhancement in England.

The Environment Agency has major responsibilities in flood management, water resources and quality, climate change, land quality, chemicals, pollution prevention and control, waste, conservation and biodiversity, fisheries conservation, air quality and navigation.

There is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if significant) to be declared. All the appointees above have confirmed that they have not undertaken any significant political activity during the past 5 years.

Biographical details of Board Members

Emma Howard Boyd

Emma chairs the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee. She also sits on the Pensions and Flood and Coastal Regional Management Committees. Emma is the Area Board Member for Cambridgeshire & Bedfordshire and Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. She is also the Board’s Whistleblowing lead.

Emma has spent her 25-year career working in financial services, initially in corporate finance, and then in fund management, specialising in sustainable investment and corporate governance. As Director of Stewardship at Jupiter Asset Management until July 2014, Emma was integral to the development of their reputation in the corporate governance and sustainability fields. She currently serves on various boards and advisory committees including the Future Cities Catapult (Vice Chair), ShareAction (Chair), the Aldersgate Group, the 30% Club Steering Committee, the Executive Board of The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project and the Carbon Trust Advisory Panel. Her past board and advisory roles have included being a director of Triodos Renewables PLC; Vice Chair and Chair of UKSIF, the UK sustainable investment and finance association, and a member of the Commission on Environmental Markets and Economic Performance, set up by the UK Government to make detailed proposals specifically on enhancing the UK environmental industries, technologies and markets.

John Varley

John is a member of the Environment and Business Committee, and Pensions Committee.

Previously John has chaired the Pensions Committee and been a member of the Remuneration Committee and Area Board Member for Devon and Cornwall.

John is the Area Board Member for Wessex.

Significant interests include: Director of the Clinton Devon Estates Board Member of Natural England Chairman of the Estates Business Group Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Chairman of the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust Trustee of Lord Clinton’s Charitable Trust Chairman of the David Arnold Forster Hill Farming Trust

Former appointments include: General Manager at British Telecommunications plc Board member of the Countryside Agency Commissioner with the Commission for Rural Communities Member of Governments’ Digital Inclusion Panel Member of the Lawton Review “Making Space for Nature” Member of the Defra Independent Forestry Panel

Karen Burrows

Karen is a member of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee, Remuneration Committee and the Environment and Business Committee.

Karen is the Area Board Member for Kent and South London and Solent and South Downs. She is also the Board’s lead for Health, Safety & Wellbeing and Diversity.

Former appointments include: Programme Manager, BG Group Plc’s Fit for the Future project Vice President & President, BG Canada Commercial Director, BG Advance Deputy General Counsel, BG Group Plc Vice President (South and East Asset), BG Trinidad and Tobago Lawyer, Linklaters

Karen is currently a governor of Cornwall College.

Peter Ainsworth

Peter is a member of the Flood and Coastal Regional Management and the Environment and Business Committees.

Peter is the Area Board Member for West Thames and, Hertfordshire and North London. He is also the lead Board member for Navigation and Internal Environment Management and the Environment Agency representative on the London Sustainable Development Commission.

Significant interests include:

Chair, Big Lottery Fund Chairman, Plantlife International Environmental Consultant and Founder Member, Robertsbridge Group

Former appointments include:

Member of Parliament Local Councillor Director of Corporate Finance at a major Investment Bank

Published 24 July 2015