Yesterday (06 February), Michael Gove announced that Tony Juniper CBE is the government’s preferred candidate for the post of chair of Natural England, the government’s advisor for the natural environment in England.
Tony will be subjected to ‘pre-appointment scrutiny’, but with an unrivalled track record in environmental protection and campaigning, we have no doubt he’ll pass with flying colours.
If Tony takes the post, it would mean we’ll have a tireless and forward-thinking environmentalist advising on and delivering the environmental priorities of central government.
For more than 25 years, Tony has worked for change toward a more sustainable society at local, national and international levels.
Tony 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.
His passion for the environment began with a love of birds; Tony started his career working as an ornithologist with Birdlife International and his fantastic book, Spix’s Macaw is widely credited as the inspiration for the film Rio.
In 1990 Tony took a position at Friends of the Earth – and eventually became executive director and vice chair of Friends of the Earth International. Among Tony’s many successes at the charity was a campaign that ensured the inclusion of a Climate Change Bill in the Queen’s Speech of 15 November 2006. This was supported by Tony’s ‘Big Ask’ Campaign throughout 2005 and 2006, when he worked with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke.
Tony is a prolific author whose accessible and comprehensive works cover a broad range of topics, bringing the urgency of environmental action to new audiences. His many books include the award-winning best seller What has Nature Ever Done for Us? and the beautiful Harmony, which was written in collaboration with HRH The Prince of Wales and Ian Skelly.
More recently, Tony worked with The Prince of Wales and Emily Shuckburgh to create the Ladybird book Climate Change, and published the epic Rainforest – dispatches from Earth’s most vital front lines.
In 2017 Tony was recognised for his services to conservation with a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The general purpose of Natural England – a non-departmental public body, set up under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 – is to make sure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development.
We’re delighted with the news and can’t think of a better person for the position. We can’t wait to see what Gove and Tony will be capable of achieving together.
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