EA management sees further restructure

Senior management at the Environment Agency (EA) has had another shakeup, with part of the local operations division deleted and the recently-formed division headed by its chief operating officer (COO) reconfigured.

One of the more significant changes is a promotion for the regulator’s former deputy director of its national enforcement service, Nicky Lawton, who recently led the record-breaking prosecution of Southern Water – dubbed Operation Garden. It was, “Our largest ever investigation, which took a huge amount of commitment to make sure the polluter pays for their offending,” she wrote on Twitter.

Lawton has gone on to become director of operations national services – a role covering health and safety, estate management, Covid-19 response and keeping to sustainability goals. But the transfer is only for a few months, she said. “Sadly this means I will be taking a step back from leading enforcement for a little while, but will still be supporting from afar!” she tweeted.

Her former role has been taken on by Steph Littler, an experienced regulator who joined the EA from the chemicals sector in 2004, working largely on emissions trading and energy efficiency.

More broadly, the roles of chief of staff and director of operations, assets and programme management under COO Lucy Hunt have been deleted and merged into director of organisational services. This includes corporate governance, internal audit, pensions, human resources and IT. The role has been taken on by Phil Lodge, another long-timer at the EA, who was previously deputy director operations catchment services.

In the Environment and Business division, a new role of director of water quality has been created – which an EA insider said last month was an admission that the EA’s approach to regulating water companies and industry “has been a spectacular failure”.

It has been taken on by John Leyland, formerly chief of staff. Before joining the EA as north west area manager in 2012, his experience was in sales, including head of retail sales and service at mobile telephony firm EE.

There have also been a few changes in the Flood and Coastal Risk Management division. One of the most significant of these is Mark Garratt, formerly director digital and skills, being demoted to deputy director level. He is now working under John Russon, director portfolio management and assurance, who was formerly in the role taken on temporarily by Lawson.

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