MPs have backed Oxfordshire farmer Poul Christensen to become the next chairman of Natural England.


The decision by the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee was announced on Wednesday (2 December).

It just leaves DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn to confirm the appointment before Mr Christensen can formally take up the post.

The committee said it was satisfied that Mr Christensen had the professional competence, rigour and integrity required for the role.

Mr Christensen has been a partner in his family farming business since the 1960s.

He has held a variety of advisory posts on agricultural issues from the 1970s onwards and chaired a number of groups too.

These have included DEFRA’s Rural Development Service from 2005 and the UK Federation of Milk Groups from 1998-2000.

Mr Christensen has been Natural England’s acting chairman since the death of first chairman Martin Doughty earlier this year.

Before that, he was the agency’s deputy chairman.

In 1994, he was awarded a CBE for services to agriculture and the commercial development of ADAS.