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EA seeks 'enforcer' chairman

ENVIRONMENT AGENCY chairman Lord de Ramsey, who resigned from his £54,765 a year post last week, has failed to put the Agency at the centre of the green political agenda, it was claimed this week.

De Ramsey's resignation, effective at the end of the year, came seven months before his contract was up. Observers this week called for a replacement tough enough to enforce the Government's environmental policy.

Construction Industry Council chief executive Graham Watts said the Agency and its new chairman should be 'more involved in initiatives

coming from central Government'.

'There seems to be hands-off policy,' he said adding that the Environment Agency was notably absent from the debate about sustainable construction and was in danger of being 'sidelined'.

De Ramsey oversaw a period of rationalisation and consolidation after the Agency's formation in 1995 from 80 existing organisations.

But environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth said it was important the new chairman had the teeth to deal effectively with polluters.

'It needs someone with vision, commitment and willingness to take on political issues,' said FoE policy and campaigns director Tony Juniper.

De Ramsey chaired the Environment Agency Advisory Committee from November 1994. His contract ran until August 2000 and he had already declined a second term.

Early departure, he said, would help 'avoid the complication of the chairman and the chief executive [Ed Gallagher] both reaching the end of our appointments at the same time.'

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