News story

Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) chair appointments

The RFCC chair appointments have been announced


Following a recruitment campaign for 5 Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) posts (Anglian Central, Northumbria, North West, South West and Thames), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is pleased to announce the following 4 RFCC Chairs’ appointments:

  • Phil Rothwell as the Chair of the Northumbria RFCC
  • Adrian Lythgo as the Chair of the North West RFCC
  • Philip Rees as the Chair of the South West RFCC
  • Professor Robert Van de Noort as the Chair of the Thames RFCC

Their appointments run from 1 September 2017 for 3 years until 31 August 2020.

All the appointments followed procedures set out in the Ministerial Governance Code for Public Appointments which came into force on 1 January 2017. There is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if significant) to be declared. None of the appointees have declared any significant political activity during the past 5 years.

RFCCs help to provide governance for the Environment Agency (EA) Flood and Coastal Erosion risk management functions and cover all flood risks that are not the responsibility of the water companies. They have 3 main purposes:

  • to ensure there are coherent plans for identifying, communicating and managing flood and coastal erosion risks across catchments and shorelines
  • to promote efficient, targeted and risk-based investment in flood and coastal erosion risk management that optimises value for money and benefits for local communities
  • to provide a link between the EA, Lead Local Flood Authorities, other risk management authorities, and other relevant bodies to engender mutual understanding of flood and coastal erosion risks in its area

All Chair posts attract a remuneration currently set at £17,503 for a commitment of 5 days per month except for the Northumbria RFCC post which attracts a remuneration currently set at £14,002 for a commitment of 4 days per month.

Anglian Central RFCC

No appointment was made for the Anglian Central RFCC post.

A new recruitment campaign for this post will be included as part of a wider recruitment campaign for other posts which will require new appointments. An announcement on this will be made shortly on the Public Appointments website.

Arrangements for a temporary chair for Anglian Central RFCC will be made in the meantime.

Background details of the 4 appointed RFCC Chairs are as follows:

Northumbria RFCC

Phil Rothwell has worked at a senior level in statutory agencies and charities for over 35 years. For 10 years he led the EA team dealing with flood and coastal risk policy including research, flood mapping and warning, planning and development in the flood plain and related policy. This included input to the Pitt Inquiry, the Floods and Water Management Act, and implementation of the Floods Directive. He was also one of EAs lead media commentators during flood events.

Phil retired from the EA in 2013 and has since worked independently on a range of issues including environmental implications of leaving the European Union, and setting up the new Floods Degree programme at Brunel University. He has for 3 years served on the Anglian Central RFCC, and also sits on the East of England Heritage Lottery Committee and the Anglia Water Sustainability and Resilience panel.

North West RFCC

In a career spanning more than 30 years Adrian Lythgo, BSC, CPFA, has held leadership positions in both the public and private sectors. From 2010 to February 2017 he was the Chief Executive of Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire. Concurrently between 2014 and 2016 he was Head of Paid Service of the newly created West Yorkshire Combined Authority until the recruitment of a full time Managing Director. In these roles, he provided policy advice to Councillors as well as being both organisations most senior official, working in partnership with a wide range of public organisations and private businesses.

An accountant by profession, Adrian was also Kirklees’s Director of Finance and performance from 2009 to 2010. Prior to that he was an Associate Partner at KPMG leading audit and advisory work at public sector nationally, with many North West based clients.

His earlier career was spent at both the Audit Commission where he was involved in the development of Best Value and Comprehensive Performance Assessment and audit work in Local Government and the NHS and at KPMG where his clients also included Universities, Colleges and other governmental organisations. He has also held a variety of independent non-executive roles in public organisations and organisations that relate to the public sector.

South West RFCC

In addition to his role as a Chair of South West RFCC, Philip Rees is Chairman of Cornwall Care, a major provider of adult domiciliary care, and residential and nursing care homes. He has recently been Chair of the South West Coastal Group and Chair of the Board of Governors of Cornwall College, one of the largest Further/Higher Education Colleges in the UK.

For the majority of his previous career he was a director of a major construction, housing and property development company, responsible for commercial business development and, in latter times, Private Finance Initiative projects.

Philip owns and runs a small holiday complex and, with his wife, has a horse livery business both based in North Cornwall.

Thames RFCC

Professor Robert Van de Noort works at the University of Reading where he is the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning & Resource. Robert is responsible for planning and resource allocation at institutional level and he has oversight of the University’s capital investment programme; he is also the University’s champion for Gender Equality.

As an archaeologist, Robert is best known for his work in marine, intertidal and terrestrial wetlands and his research has looked at the impact of climate change of people living on the coast and near rivers in the past and present. Previously, Robert was Chair of the South West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (2013-2017). Robert lives in Goring on Thames and is a keen member of the Goring Gap Boat Club.

Published 7 September 2017