DEFRA appoints four new members to Environment Agency governing body

Four people have been appointed to the regulator’s nine-member board, including a former Conservative councillor and the chair of the Natural Capital Coalition

Caroline Mason
Caroline Mason has joined the Environment Agency board. Photograph: Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Four new members are joining the board of the Environment Agency.

The three-year appointment of Judith Batchelar, Robert Gould, John Lelliott and Caroline Mason by environment secretary Michael Gove was announced on 16 January.

Gould, a farmer and former conservative leader of West Dorset District Council, will begin his term on 1 February. So will John Lelliott, who retired as chief financial officer of the Crown Estate in 2016 and now chairs the Natural Capital Coalition and the finance committee of an NHS trust.

Mason, chief executive of major environmental grant-making body the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, will begin her term on 1 April. She was previously chief operating officer at Big Society Capital and at the Charity Bank.

Batchelar, director of brand, corporate responsibility and public affairs at J Sainsbury plc, will take up the reins at the same time. She co-chairs the Agri-food Technology Leadership Council and is an ambassador for the Woodland Trust.

Gove also reappointed Lynne Frostick and Gill Weeks for second terms to the board, which will end in March 2021.

Weeks, who joined the EA board in 2014, was regulatory affairs director at Veolia and before that acting policy director at the Environmental Services Association. A chartered environmentalist and fellow of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, she chairs the regulator’s environment and business committee and is a member of the audit and risk committee.

Frostick, professor emerita of physical geography at Hull University, joined the EA board in 2015 and is an expert in flooding and hydraulic engineering.

Batchelar, Gould, Lelliott and Mason will each receive £16,800 per year for working four days a month. Weeks has committed to five days per month, receiving £21,000/year.

Lynne Frostick will have a salary of £25,200/year based for six days per month.

The appointment of Mason and Batchelar is to replace former MP and Environmental Audit Committee chair Peter Ainsworth and Karen Burrows, whose second terms end in August. Burrows has had a number of oversight roles in the agency and has a background in the gas industry.

But two of the new appointments have been made “to fill vacancies on the board” according to a DEFRA press officer, though which of its nine members have resigned has not been made clear. Other than Ainsworth and Burrows, none have terms that expire before mid-2019.