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Environment Agency Chairman resigns

Environment Agency Chairman Sir Philip Dilley has resigned today

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The Chairman of the Environment Agency Sir Philip Dilley has today resigned from his position.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:

Today I have accepted Sir Philip Dilley’s resignation and I would like to thank him for his work as Chairman of the Environment Agency.

He has ably led the Environment Agency through some challenging times and leaves it a much better organisation, as shown in its excellent response to the recent flooding which saw staff working around the clock to protect and help thousands of people across the country.

It is important that the Environment Agency continues to have a strong leadership team and its Chief Executive Sir James Bevan will continue his excellent work heading up the operational and day-to-day running of the organisation. The current Deputy Chairman, Emma Howard Boyd, has agreed to become Acting Chairman with immediate effect and will lead the board in holding the agency to account. We will begin the task of recruiting a permanent replacement in due course.

In a statement issued today, Sir Philip said:

I have today told the Secretary of State of my decision to step down as Chairman of the Environment Agency, and she has accepted my resignation.

I am well qualified to carry out this role, and had much to contribute. I fully support the Secretary of State’s reform agenda to deliver efficiency as well as a better, more joined-up service to our stakeholders and the public, and so I am disappointed that I will not now see through delivery of these reforms.

My reason for resigning is that the expectations of the role have expanded to require the Chairman to be available at short notice throughout the year, irrespective of routine arrangements for deputy and executive cover. In my view this is inappropriate in a part-time non-executive position, and this is something I am unable to deliver.

Furthermore the media scrutiny focused on me is diverting attention from the real issue of helping those whose homes and businesses have flooded, as well as the important matter of delivering a long-term flood defence strategy. This same media attention has also affected and intruded on my immediate family, which I find unacceptable.

I want to be clear that I have not made any untrue or misleading statements, apart from approving the statement about my location over Christmas that in hindsight could have been clearer.

The Environment Agency is an extremely competent and well-run organisation, and the many employees I have met are passionate about what they do because they really care for the environment and the communities we work to enhance and protect.

I retain the full support of the board, which I know has a strong breadth of knowledge and experience, and with Sir James Bevan as the newly appointed Chief Executive the future of the Environment Agency is in strong hands.

Published 11 January 2016