New head appointed to lead on flood protection

A new chairman will oversee flood protection at the Environment Agency. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
A new chairman will oversee flood protection at the Environment Agency. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
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A new chairman has been appointed to lead the Environment Agency.

Philip Dilley, the former chairman of London-based professional services firm Arup Group, will take up the post in September and will earn £100,000 a year.

The current chairman is Lord Smith of Finsbury, the former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who will vacate the position at the end of his current term. In what has been a difficult year for the Agency, Lord Smith refused to buckle under calls for his resignation after the floods that dogged large swathes of southern England at the start of the year. The Agency was accused of doing too little to protect homes from flood water.

Mr Dilley’s appointment in his place was approved this week by Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee.

The Committee questioned Mr Dilley on Tuesday about his previous experience and suitability for the role, considering his business skills, dealings with government and media-facing experience.

In the EFRA Committee’s subsequent report published on Thursday, the Conservative MP for Thirsk, Malton and Filey, Anne McIntosh, the Committee’s chairman, said: “We are satisfied that Philip Dilley has the professional competence and personal independence required for the post of Chair of the Environment Agency.”

Mr Dilley will spend two to three days a week as the Agency’s chairman, which employs 10,600 staff and is the frontline service for flood protection, environmental regulation and water resource management.