Category Archives: UK

Natural England’s Longest-Serving Chair Retires

Andrew Sells retires today as Chair of Natural England after five years

Andrew Sells

Andrew Sells

Reflecting on his time with the government’s adviser on the natural environment, Andrew paid tribute to colleagues and partners.

He said:

It has been a huge privilege to serve as Chair of Natural England. Protecting and enhancing the natural environment has been a considerable challenge, especially in a difficult financial climate, but I am very proud to have given it my best.

I have nothing but admiration for our knowledgeable and inspirational staff, and I have been fortunate to have the constant support of a high-calibre board. It has also been my great pleasure to work so closely with such a diverse range of partners.

Appointed in January 2014, Andrew is the third Chair of Natural England and the longest serving in its 12-year history. Sir Martin Doughty was Chair from 2006 to 2009 and Poul Christensen from 2009 to 2013.

During the last five years Natural England has:

  • Moved to a structure of area teams to ensure it takes decisions in collaboration with those closest to the environment
  • Adopted a conservation strategy – Conservation 21 – to guide its work in creating resilient landscapes and seas, growing natural capital and putting people at the heart of nature
  • Shaped the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, particularly in areas such as Nature Recovery Networks and Net Gain, and is now leading on delivery
  • Introduced a more strategic approach to providing licences for developers, aimed at enhancing and linking the habitat of legally-protected species such as great crested newts while making it easier for developers to obtain and comply with licences
  • Provided the science and evidence that underpins a “Blue Belt” of marine conservation zones around our coast
  • Progressed the 2,700-mile England Coast Path to the point where every stretch is now open or being worked on
  • Designated the largest Site of Special Scientific Interest in the last 14 years – the 76 sq km West Pennine Moors – and defended others from development, notably Lodge Hill in Kent and Rampisham Down in Dorset
  • Licensed the trial release of beavers – the first to live wild in England for 300 years
  • Coordinated vital conservation work across a range of organisations such as the Back from the Brink project to save 20 species from imminent extinction.

Andrew said:

Natural England is a great force for good and it’s been an honour to have led the organisation for five years. I believe Natural England is well-equipped to provide the environmental leadership needed to help fulfil the government’s aim of leaving the natural world in a better state.

Farming Minister George Eustice said:

I would like to pay tribute to Andrew’s excellent work and leadership as Natural England’s chair.

He has been a tireless champion of the nation’s environment, helping Natural England, its staff and partners across the country to protect and enhance our shared natural heritage for generations to come.

Natural England’s Deputy Chair, Lord Blencathra, said:

Natural England has achieved some notable successes for the environment in the last five years, due in large part to Andrew’s drive and leadership. He has also reformed the way the organisation works, driven forward vital innovations such as in licensing and pressed hard for the introduction of net gain and conservation covenants.

I would like to thank him for all he has done, both for the organisation and for the natural environment, and wish him the very best for his retirement.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is leading the recruitment of a new Chair and an announcement is expected shortly. Lord Blencathra will chair the Board in the interim.

Defence Secretary Commissions New Report To Step Up Support For Service Families

The new study will examine the support available to the different members of military families, including spouses and partners, and children

Ministry of Defence

Ministry of Defence

A new study that will assess the support available to military families has been commissioned by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

The report will be authored by Andrew Selous MP, who has previously served in the Honourable Artillery Company and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. It will analyse the different experiences of service family members, focussing on;

  • Spouses and civil partners
  • Long term partners
  • Children and dependents

The report’s findings, which will be completed by summer 2019, will consider the diverse needs of service families and assess whether the current support on offer is meeting these needs. The study will also allow the MOD to further enhance the delivery of vital support for military families.

The MOD supports service families in many aspects of their lives, including housing, education, and spousal employment.

As part of the study, Mr Selous will engage with key stakeholders, including the three single service families federations, service charities, and the Covenant Fund Trust, which makes grants to support the armed forces community.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

The success of our armed forces would not be possible without the constant support of the service families, who are often the unsung heroes of the military community.

I’m always inspired by their unfaltering fortitude, and the pride they take in in their loved ones’ service. I’m delighted that Andrew will be considering how we can best support them, as they support those who are keeping this country safe.

Andrew Selous MP said:

I have been a long-term champion of the importance of healthy and respectful couple and family relationships across society. As a nation, we rely on the strength of our Armed Forces to keep us safe. The nation in turn, has a duty to support and strengthen service families to help them perform a challenging role to the best of their ability.

I look forward to leading this critically important study, at the request of the Secretary of State, to assess the current needs of military families and to advise on the support they need.

The MOD has continued to bolster its funding for service families, allocating £5 million to the Education Support Fund, which supports the children of military personnel, and investing £68 million into the improvement of family accommodation.

Last year saw the launch of the Armed Forces Flexible Working Act, which enhances serving personnel’s ability to serve part-time, should their circumstances change, and the announcement of a new scheme to support spouses’ employment, providing vocational training.

£2.5 Million To Boost International Exchanges For Schools

Funding will ensure more disadvantaged pupils can experience other cultures

Secondary Pupils

Secondary Pupils

Thousands more young people will have the chance to take part in international exchanges and visits thanks to a new £2.5 million programme, the Education Secretary announced today (19 January).

Schools in England will be able to apply for grants to take pupils aged 11 and above to visit partner schools around the world, giving them the chance to experience different cultures, improve language skills and build independence, character and resilience.

The programme, which will be principally focused on supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds, will be run in partnership with the British Council – whose own research has found that only 39% of secondary schools run international exchanges. For independent schools, the figure is 77%.

As education ministers from around the world prepare to gather in London for the Education World Forum, Damian Hinds has stressed the importance of ensuring disadvantaged young people don’t miss out on the life-changing experiences and academic opportunities offered by overseas visits.

Evidence shows that businesses are increasingly looking for employees with international experience and language skills – and, according to a British Council survey, almost two-thirds of university language students said that an international exchange helped inspire them to choose their degree course.

The programme will build on the government’s work to encourage more pupils to study a foreign language, including their inclusion in the English Baccalaureate. Since 2010 we have seen 45% more entries in GCSE Chinese and 51% more entries in GCSE Spanish.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

I want every child to have a world-class education, and that includes the opportunity to experience other cultures and go to places they wouldn’t normally visit – whether that’s practising their Mandarin in China or learning about American history in the US.

School exchanges are so valuable, bringing subjects such as modern languages and international history to life as well as helping pupils develop into confident, independent and well-rounded young people.

As Britain leaves the European Union, it’s more important than ever to show how much we value international opportunities, language-learning, and ensuring our young people have a global outlook – something I’ll be discussing with education ministers from around the world at Education World Forum.

This investment will help schools who may not have much experience organising trips abroad to ensure their pupils don’t miss out on all the fantastic benefits these experiences can bring, encouraging children to broaden their horizons and aim high throughout their education and beyond.

Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council, said:

Pupils keep the memory of a school trip abroad for the rest of their lives – it is an important first step in understanding the world. It encourages children to think about working and studying overseas and sows the seeds of international co-operation that we encourage in young people all around the world.

The programme’s focus on disadvantaged pupils was also welcomed by schools.

Geoff Lumsdon, headteacher at Seaham High School in County Durham, said:

This programme will expand students’ international horizons and experience, delivering on our school’s vision to help the young people of Seaham to achieve the highest possible outcomes and to make a valuable contribution to the global society in which we all now live.

Many of our students receive the Pupil Premium and we do our utmost to ensure equality of opportunity so that all of our pupils feel safe, secure, and are free from prejudice and able to develop a mutual respect for others. This is an exciting opportunity to ensure every young person can access international and multicultural experiences so they are ready to take on the challenges of the 21st century – and we would be delighted to participate.

Funding will be targeted at schools with above-average numbers of pupil-premium students. Over the course of the programme, it is estimated that trips could be funded for 2,900 pupils. Young people will be encouraged to stay with host families abroad where possible, maximising their opportunity to practise language skills and be fully immersed in another culture.

To make the scheme as easy as possible for schools to take part in, there will be a simple application process, grants to cover the administrative cost of organising trips, and seminars to help schools without much experience of international visits find partner institutions abroad – in Europe or further afield.

Schools will be able to register their interest on the British Council website from Monday.

Chief Constable Launches New CNC Jobs Website

Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) Chief Constable Mike Griffiths, CBE, has launched a new CNC recruitment website

New CNC jobs website launched

New CNC jobs website launched

Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) Chief Constable Mike Griffiths, CBE, has launched a new CNC recruitment website.

The website gives an insight into what it’s like to work for the UK’s most unique police force.

The new website has been designed to highlight the wide range of career opportunities available within the CNC. It also provides applicants important information and advice about entry requirements and enables them to apply for roles in the CNC across the UK.

CNC Chief Constable Mike Griffiths said: “We attract people from a diverse range of career paths and backgrounds and this new website reflects our values and culture very well.

“The website allows people thinking about joining the police a chance to explore what we can offer them, and what we want from them.

“On the website some of my colleagues describe what they do on a day-to-day basis and this gives potential applicants a good insight into the sort of work we do.

“The CNC operates across the UK and the website allows potential applicants a chance to explore what each location has to offer them and their family.

“We are always on the look-out for talented people who want to make a contribution to keeping the country safe. If you think this could be you, have a look at the website and find out.”

The CNC has 1,500 officers and staff and is responsible for protecting civil nuclear facilities in the UK and nuclear material in transit. All the CNC’s frontline police constables and sergeants are armed.

The new CNC jobs website can be found here.

Decommissioning Delivery Partnership Celebrates 3 Years Of Delivery

A large amount of the work reducing the hazard and risk on the Sellafield site is done by our supply chain partners

Organisations within the Decommissioning Delivery Partnership are involved with specialist decommissioning programmes on the Sellafield site

Organisations within the Decommissioning Delivery Partnership are involved with specialist decommissioning programmes on the Sellafield site

Specialist jobs such as demolishing chimneys, taking the water out of nuclear storage ponds and dismantling asbestos lined buildings require experts in their field.

The Decommissioning Delivery Partnership is a framework made up of these nuclear specialists, which Sellafield Ltd has been calling on since April 2016 to carry out vital decommissioning work.

So far 34% of the partnerships spend has been with SMEs, much greater than the 20% committed by the lot delivery partners at the outset.





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