Defra begins search for inaugural Chair of new environment watchdog

The Office for Environmental Protection will monitor the government’s progress towards improving the natural environment and will investigate complaints regarding failures of public bodies to comply with environment law

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has started the search for the inaugural Chair of the new environment watchdog.

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) will monitor the government’s progress towards improving the natural environment and will investigate complaints regarding failures of public bodies to comply with environment law.

The successful candidate will be the driving force behind the OEP, which will also have the power to run its own independent investigations and enforce environment law.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Protecting and enhancing our natural environment is a greater priority than ever before, so it is essential both present and future governments are held to account on our environmental targets.

“This new and independent body needs a strong leader who has the passion and commitment needed to deliver real and lasting change for our precious environment and I encourage all those who fit the bill to apply.”

The OEP will be legislated through Defra’s Environment Bill, which will enshrine environmental principles into law and introduce measures to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats.

The watchdog is scheduled for creation in 2021, subject to the Bill gaining Royal Assent.

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