Chair of Natural England

Body: Natural England
Appointing Department: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Location: No set location, dependent on successful candidate, (work from home or office, with attendance at meetings in Westminster and various locations)
Skills required: Business / Commercial, Change Management, Transformation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £546 per day (£141,960 pro rata for a time commitment of 104 days per annum or 2 days per week)
Time Requirements: 104 days per annum or 2 days per week


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Tony Juniper CBE appointed as Natural England chair

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has today confirmed Tony Juniper CBE as the new Chair of Natural England.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

“Tony will bring great experience and passion to Natural England from a career dedicated to conservation from his role at WWF to advising the Prince of Wales.

“Natural England has a key part to play in the government’s 25 year plan for the environment and ensuring we can protect nature for future generations.

“That is why I am looking forward to working with Tony as he leads the organisation and ensures Natural England can continue delivering the government’s environmental priorities.”

Date: 12/03/2019

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    24/09/2018 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


  • Ministerial meetings


  • Pre-appointment scrutiny hearing



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

Ministerial message to candidates

Dear Candidate

Thank you for your interest in becoming the new Chair of Natural England. This is a great opportunity for a high calibre leader to help shape the future of this substantial organisation at an exciting time.

The Government has set out a clear ambition, in our 25 year plan for the environment launched earlier this year to be the first generation that leaves the environment in a better state than we found it. Natural England has a vital role to play in helping achieve this objective; through its responsibility to protect and enhance the natural environment.  It is responsible for licensing, incentivising and advising on conservation on land and in the marine environment.  Natural England is working with Defra and other delivery partners on EU exit – to secure the opportunity to develop a better approach to protecting and enhancing the natural environment and our farming and fishing industries and to ensure that new policies are implemented effectively.

I am looking for an ambitious new Chair for Natural England; a strong and visible leader who is passionate about the environment, has the ability to lead a substantial operational delivery organisation effectively and efficiently with a customer focus, and can respond to new opportunities and priorities and drive change and innovation.

If you have the skills, passion and experience to lead Natural England, whatever your background, we very much look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Environment

Natural England

Natural England plays a key role in delivering the environmental priorities of central government. Its general purpose is to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development. Natural England forms part of the Defra Group and has its own powers and duties, exercising advisory and regulatory responsibilities at arm’s length from Ministers. Natural England is accountable to Defra’s Secretary of State for the delivery of its objectives.

This is an exciting time for Natural England. In January 2018, the Government published ‘A Green Future – our 25 year plan to improve the environment’. This set out an ambition to be the first generation that leaves the environment in a better state than we found it, and identifies some of the key steps we will need to take to reverse the decline in biodiversity and improve the health of our habitats and soils. As the Government’s advisor for the natural environment Natural England has a key role in delivering this plan.

This is also a time of rapid change. The UK’s departure from the EU requires us to ensure that we have a fully functioning framework to protect and enhance our natural environment. The Government has carried out a consultation – Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit – on how we might change the framework of support to farmers and land managers as we leave the Common Agricultural Policy.

Future financial support for farming should see public money paying for public goods – principally, environmental outcomes. Again, Natural England plays a key role, through its evidence and advisory capability and as one of the principal delivery organisations within the Defra group.

As Chair of the Board your leadership will be essential in driving ambitious plans with the senior leadership of the organisation. You will be able to share your experience and enthusiasm for the natural environment, be able to work collaboratively and in partnership nationally, as well as locally, with stakeholders and staff alike.

The Role

The Chair provides leadership and strategic vision for the Board, sets the overall strategic operational direction of Natural England, ensures good governance and, with the Board, holds the executive to account.

The Chair will promote a positive and constructive relationship with everyone that works with Natural England including farmers and other land managers, business and industry, planners and developers, and a wide range of interest groups and local communities as well as Other Government Departments, regulators and local government.

Person Specification

The Person

We are looking for someone who shows:

  • strong and visible leadership with an ability to deliver change, and drive efficiency, effectiveness and a customer focus in a substantial organisation;
  • a passion for the natural environment, and an understanding of the benefits it offers to people;
  • the ability to command confidence and respect at the highest level including with Ministers across Government and partners, marshalling arguments and evidence around the benefits that the natural environment offers economically and socially as well as environmentally;
  • the interpersonal and communication skills to engage, enthuse and inspire a wide cross section of people and organisations including staff and delivery partners as well as the wider public;
  • clear strategic, innovative and creative thinking;
  • a collaborative style, ready to work with partners across sectors to deliver Government’s long term objectives;
  • the ability to support and challenge others in a constructive manner, including working with the Chief Executive Officer and the Defra Board; and
  • probity, integrity and a commitment to public service values.

 Essential Criteria

In their applications candidates must be able to demonstrate all of the following essential criteria:

  • An ability and capacity to lead and represent Natural England strategically, giving a clear sense of overall vision, strategic direction and purpose and providing support to the Executive team with constructive challenge;
  • Significant business acumen and experience working with complex delivery organisations and driving change, including a proven track record at a senior level in the private, public or voluntary sector in a comparable organisation;
  • Interest in and an existing understanding – or a capacity to quickly develop an understanding – of environmental issues, the work of Natural England and how it can improve the natural environment and contribute to a range of Government priorities
  • An ability to build an effective team culture, productive relationships, and create consensus around practical solutions both within the Board and in the way the wider organisation does business; and
  • Experience and insight in delivering a top quality service to customers and of building resilient and collaborative networks with key partners.

Additional Information

The Board

The Board of Natural England sets the strategic direction of the organisation and ensures that it contributes to delivery of the Government’s policies for the natural environment in England. It ensures the correct, efficient and effective use of Natural England’s resources, including its public funding and income from fees and charges. The Board is crucial in constructively challenging and holding the Executive to account.

The Board of Natural England includes a Chair and must have no fewer than 8 and no more than 15 other members.

As the Chair of the Board you will be responsible for the effective overall leadership of the Natural England Board so that it is able to address challenges faced by the organisation and fulfil its collective responsibility to:

  • establish and take forward the strategic aims and objectives of Natural England;
  • set the long-term direction for the Executive team and the tone and pace needed to deliver the agreed strategies and plans;
  • agree an Action Plan for each year that sets out Natural England’s specific delivery commitments and approving the appropriate allocation of resources;
  • receive and review regular performance information concerning the ongoing delivery of Natural England against its agreed Action Plan;
  • ensure that Ministers are kept informed of any changes which are likely to impact on the strategic direction of Natural England or on the attainability of its targets, and determining the steps needed to deal with such changes; and
  • ensure that effective and high standards of corporate governance are in place at all times.

How to Apply

To apply, please send the following to by the deadline of 12 noon on 24 September quoting reference ‘APT08-18’:

  • A CV of not more than two sides of A4;
  • A supporting statement of not more than two sides of A4, setting out how you meet the essential criteria – make sure you refer to the contents of this document and provide specific examples;
  • Contact details of two referees;
  • Completed diversity monitoring form;
  • Completed conflicts of interest, conduct and political activity monitoring form

If you have any questions about the appointments process please contact Andrew Morris, Public Appointments Team on 020 802 66562 or

For an informal discussion about the role please contact Mick Oliver, Natural England on 07768 291446 or

Monitoring form 1 (Conflicts of Interest and Political Activity)
Monitoring form 2 (Diversity)
Public Appointments Guidance notes
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