Tony Juniper nominated for Chair of Natural England role


The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove has announced that Tony Juniper CBE has been selected as the government's preferred candidate to take up the post of Chair of Natural England, the Government's advisor for the natural environment in England.

Mr Juniper has been selected following a rigorous process which was conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Governance Code on Public Appointments. He is currently Executive Director for Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF-UK, President of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, Fellow of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and former advisor to the Prince of Wales. He began his career working as an ornithologist with Birdlife International and for many years worked with Friends of the Earth, most recently as Executive Director and Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International.

He is also a prolific author, publishing a number of books. These cover a great range of topics and include the award-winning best-seller What has Nature Ever Done for Us? and the recent Rainforest: Dispatches from Earth's Most Vital Frontlines, as well as identification guides such as 2003's Parrots: a Guide to Parrots of the World.

Following Mr Gove's announcement, Tony took to Twitter to respond, saying: "I am delighted at this news and look forward to meeting MPs to discuss further in due course.

"I hope I am able to contribute something toward the new ambitions we have for leaving nature in a better state than [it is] now. It seems to me that we have every good reason to aim high."

The Secretary of State has invited the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee to hold a pre-appointment hearing and to report on Tony's suitability for the post. Pre-appointment scrutiny is an important part of the process for some of the most significant public appointments made by ministers. It is designed to provide an added level of scrutiny to verify that the recruitment meets the principles set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments.

Pre-appointment hearings are held in public and allow a Select Committee to take evidence from a minister's preferred candidate before they are appointed. The Select Committee will publish a report setting out its views on the candidate's suitability for the post. Ministers consider the Committee's views before deciding whether to proceed with the appointment.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity (if any declared) to be made public. Mr Juniper has not declared any significant political activity in the past five years.