News story

Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) chair appointments

The RFCC chair appointments have been announced


Following a recruitment campaign for four Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) posts - Anglian (Central), Anglia (Eastern), Severn and Wye and Southern - the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is pleased to announce the following four RFCC Chair appointments:

  • Brian West Stewart as the Chair of the Anglian (Central) RFCC
  • Paul Hayden as the Chair of the Anglian (Eastern) RFCC
  • Shirel Stedman as the Chair of Severn and Wye RFCC
  • Dr Martin Hurst as the Chair of Southern RFCC

Brian West Stewart’s appointment runs from 2 January 2018 for three years until 1 January 2021.

The remaining appointments will run from 1 July 2018 for three years until 30 June 2021.

We have also re-appointed four RFCC Chairs for a further three years from when their current terms end on 30 June 2018:

  • Eddy Poll as the Chair of Anglian (Northern) RFCC
  • Vij Randeniya as the Chair of Trent RFCC
  • David Jenkins as the Chair of Wessex RFCC
  • Colin Mellors as the Chair of Yorkshire RFCC

Their terms will continue to run from 1 July 2018 until 30 June 2021.

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 for Anglian Central, Anglian Eastern, Severn & Wye and Southern have declared any significant political activity during the past five 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 three 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 five days per month.

Background details of the four appointed RFCC Chairs for Anglian Central, Anglian Eastern, Severn & Wye and Southern are as follows:


Brian Stewart OBE is now a portfolio non-executive director and consultant, following an executive career in local and regional government. From 2000 to 2010 he was the Chief Executive of the East of England Regional Assembly. He now sits on the main Board of Clarion Housing Group and is Vice Chair of its subsidiary stock holding Housing Association. He also chairs the Sizewell C Community Forum, sits on the HS2 Need to Sell Scheme Panel and is Vice Chair of Ormiston Families; a major East Anglian children’s charity.


Paul Hayden has been the Chair of the Anglian (Eastern) RFCC since its inception in 2011, working with stakeholders to maximise the opportunities for local decision-making and partnership working. He is a disaster risk reduction and management specialist by background, with 38 years’ experience including 15 years working at an international level where he has specialised in natural hazards and climate change related projects. He led national coordination of rescue responses during the 2007 floods and subsequently sat on the Cabinet Committee formed to oversee implementation of the “Pitt Review” recommendations. He was also appointed by Defra to boards responsible for establishment of the Flood Forecasting Centre and delivery of the Flood Rescue National Enhancement Project. In addition to his RFCC and consultancy roles, Paul is a Non-Executive Director of the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council, (NERC). He is a contributory author to the World Handbook on Drowning, and is a visiting lecturer at University College London and University of Mauritius. He was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year 2018 Honours list and was awarded the Queens Fire Service Medal in the New Year 2010 Honours List. He has an MA in Management and Public Administration, and an MSc in Fire Command and Disaster Management.


Shirel Stedman is currently the Director of Advisory Group, Water Europe at Royal HaskoningDHV providing strategic direction and driving commercial acumen to the group. Early in Shirel’s career, she trained as a paramedic in the Army establishing core values of collaboration and compassion. Shirel is a leading Civil Engineer within the UK water industry, and has a reputation that has been established over 25 years in this sector. Shirel first joined the Midlands Regional Flood and Defence Committee (RFDC) in 2008 and has continuously served until the present day. She was the Director of Central and Local Government Partnerships at AECOM, responsible for forming teams of technical, managerial and business development staff for a variety of short-term projects for a range of clients and sectors. Shirel has significant experience within the Midlands and was a Project Director for key Midlands region flood alleviation schemes. Between 2006 and 2009, she worked as a Resources Director at Halcrow and was responsible for over 500 staff. During this time she won a commendation from South Derbyshire MP Mark Todd for her work with communities on the River Dove Strategy. Shirel has been a board member of Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and was appointed as the institutions first Managing Director in January 2016. Shirel is a member of the Engineering Council, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management.


Dr Martin Hurst had a long career as a senior civil servant and professional economist, including as environment, housing and planning advisor in Number 10, and Flood and Water Director in Defra – in which he played a leading role in the government’s response to the 2007 floods and the subsequent Pitt review and Flood and Water Management Act 2010. He has wide voluntary sector experience – as trustee and non-executive director – over the past 15 years - and he has a track record of working with the water industry and with local government. Martin is currently chair of finance and treasury for two large housing associations, a visiting lecturer on major infrastructure appraisal at University College London, and has a number of water and housing related trustee, corporate finance advisor and consumer champion roles.

Published 9 January 2018