Our Board has corporate responsibility for ensuring that Natural England fulfils the aims and objectives set by the Secretary of State. The main roles of the Board are to establish Natural England’s strategy, approve direction and review performance of the organisation.
Natural England Board Register of Interests: (162kb) is available to view.
Mr Andrew Sells - Chair
Appointed: 20 January 2014 - Until: 19 January 2017
Andrew Sells was appointed Chair of Natural England on 20 January 2014
Andrew was bought up in rural East Anglia and now lives on a small farm in north Wiltshire where he pursues his interest in planting trees.
His non-executive career began with Linden Homes, a company which he chaired from start-up in 1991 until its sale in 2007. Linden was a specialist housebuilder focusing on the development of brown-field sites and the creation of Urban Villages such as Caterham Barracks. He recently retired as Chairman of the Garden Centre Group (formerly Wyevale), leading the Group from a distressed financial position to becoming a healthy business. He has held Trustee roles with the Royal Horticultural Society (of which he was Hon. Treasurer), Policy Exchange and the Holfords of Westonbirt Trust.
Andrew supports charities helping young people into work and is currently chairing a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Task Force on a one-year pro bono contract looking at ways of improving the efficiency of the DWP’s Work Programme. The Work Programme is the major Government initiative to help the long-term unemployed and most disadvantaged people into work.
In his early career Andrew qualified as a Chartered Accountant prior to spending some 10 years with Schroders plc and then almost 20 years managing venture capital funds.
Andrew is a member of the National Trust, the Royal Horticultural Society and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Andrew was appointed following the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee meeting on 13 December 2013, where the Committee concluded: “We are satisfied that Andrew Sells has the professional competence and personal independence required for the post of Chairman of Natural England and that he will be well placed to lead the organisation”.
In confirming the appointment, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson commented, “This is an incredibly important role which carries significant responsibilities. I am delighted to have confirmed Mr Andrew Sells as Chairman of Natural England and I look forward to him bringing his particular skills and insights to the Board.”
Professor David Hill - Deputy Chair
Appointed: 2 May 2006 (reappointed 1 October 2012) - Until: 30 September 2014
David was appointed Deputy Chair in February 2011 and has been a member of Natural England’s Board since 2 May 2006.
David was appointed Deputy Chair in February 2011. His responsibilities include: Northumberland and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (as Board member), Natural England’s Science Advisory Committee and Audit and Risk Committee, and the Natural England, Environment Agency and Forestry Commission Joint Sub-group.
David has significant experience in consultancy, nature conservation and company business strategy. He runs an ecological consultancy company, is Chairman and owner of The Environment Bank Ltd and was previously Chief Scientific Adviser to RPS Group plc. owner and Director of the Environmental Markets Exchange.
Over the past three years he has been actively involved in promoting environmental markets to provide new and innovative ways of mitigating for impacts on ecosystem services arising from development, industry and corporate businesses.
David is a Fellow and past President of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. He has published extensively on ecological issues over the past 25 years.
David is a member of the RSPB, BTO, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and a life member of the National Trust.
Mr William Cockbain
Appointed: 1 October 2011 - Until: 30 September 2014
Responsibilities from 1 October 2011 include: land management, agriculture and the uplands, Lake District, Peak District and North York Moors National Parks.
William Cockbain farms a large hill farm in the Lake District as part of a family partnership. He was NFU National Uplands spokesman from 2004 until March 2012 when he stood down after 8 years.
In 2006 he was appointed as Defra’s North West Sustainable Food and Farming Champion, a position held until the end of March 2011. He chairs the new Rural and Farming Networks, for Cumbria, North and East Lancashire, and was made an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2008 for services to hill farming.
Will is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies.
Ms Catherine Graham-Harrison OBE
Appointed: 1 January 2009 - Until: 31 December 2014
Responsibilities from 30 September 2011 include: Protected Landscapes, with special responsibility for the South Downs and New Forest National Parks, and transport and development. Member of the Audit and Risk Committee until 30 September 2011.
Until 2011, Catherine worked as a Management Consultant, mainly in the not for profit sector, focusing on philanthropy; strategic planning; governance and organisational development.
Prior to that, she was a Vice President of Citibank and then Chief Executive of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. She has held a large number of non executive positions over the past 20 years including being on the board of the Heritage Lottery Fund and a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Catherine has been Chair of the National Forest Company since April 2011 and was appointed Chair of the National Trust Architecture Panel with effect from 1 February 2011.
Dr Joe Horwood
Appointed: 1 October 2009 (reappointed 1 October 2012) - Until: 30 September 2015
Responsibilities include: Lead Board member for marine and the Broads Authority. Member of the Audit and Risk Committee (until 30 September 2011), Natural England Science Advisory Committee, Marine Protected Areas sub-group on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Natural England, Environment Agency and Forestry Commission Joint Sub-group (ceased July 2012).
Joe Horwood has a background in mathematics and zoology applied in marine ecology and resource management. Former Chief Science Advisor at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), but retaining a role as Non-Executive Director and Chair of CEFAS’ Science Advisory Committee. He has been a member of the Board of the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) since 1998 and was President of ICES from 2006 to 2009. He was also on the Board of the Marine Biological Association from 1998 to 2001.
He has served on the science advisory committees of the International Whaling Commission, ICES and the EC, and on the UK’s Marine Science Co-ordination Committee. He is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, and of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, and a member of the British Ecological Society, the Challenger Society and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. He has published on a variety of marine issues including whales, fisheries and marine protected areas.
Professor David Macdonald
Appointed: 2 May 2006 (reappointed 1 June 2011) - Until: 30 September 2014
Responsibilities include: Chair of Natural England’s Science Advisory Committee and biodiversity (land use issues).
David is the Professor of Wildlife Conservation and the Director (and founder) of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Zoology Department at Oxford University and a Senior Research Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall. He recently retired as Chairman of the Darwin Advisory Committee, Defra and is Emeritus Chairman of Earthwatch UK and Board Member of WWF and RSPB.
David was awarded the 2004 Dawkins Prize for contributions to wildlife conservation. In 2006 he was awarded the Merriam Medal for outstanding contributions to mammalian research by the American Society of Mammalogists and in 2007 he was awarded the equivalent medal of Britain’s Mammal Society and in 2010 the Zoological Society of London’s Silver Medal. In 2008, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 2010 he was appointed Commander of the British Empire for services to Natural Science.
David was a Council Member for English Nature from 2003-2006, before taking up the appointment of Board Member for Natural England.
Mr Nigel Reader CBE
Appointed: 1 June 2011 (reappointed 1 June 2014) - Until: 1 June 2017
Responsibilities include: Chair of Natural England’s Audit and Risk Committee from 1 October 2011.
Nigel is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and is a Chartered Global Management Accountant and has held a number of senior financial positions, including as Director of Finance for the National Rivers Authority and the Environment Agency. He has been a member of HM Treasury’s Financial Reporting and Advisory Board and a member of the Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability Advisory Group.
He served as a member of the board of trustees of the international development charity WaterAid from 1999 until 2011 and is a consultant for them (occasional) on a pro bono basis.
He is currently a board member for both the Marine Management Organisation (until 31 January 2017) and Natural Resources Wales (until 31 October 2015) and also chairs their Audit and Risk Committees.
Mr Andy Wilson
Appointed: 1 January 2009 - Until: 31 December 2014
Responsibilities include: Member of Audit and Risk Committee from 1 October 2011; and climate change mitigation (renewable forms of energy).
Andy Wilson has been Chief Executive of the North York Moors National Park Authority since March 2000 during which time the Authority has won a series of awards for customer service, training and work on climate change. Prior to that, he worked for seven years at the Northumberland National Park. Earlier in his career he worked for the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), where he produced a series of influential reports on farming and the environment. He has numerous relations who farm in the Yorkshire Dales
Andy is a member of the RSPB, and was a member of the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly Sustainable Development Board until April 2009.