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New Environment Agency head chosen

Environment secretary Owen Paterson has announced that Philip Dilley is the Government’s preferred candidate to succeed Lord Chris Smith as chair of the Environment Agency (EA).

For five years until April, Dilley was executive chairman of Arup, the planning, engineering, and project management consulting group with more than 11,000 staff members. His entry in LinkedIn says he had “ultimate responsibility for the group performance and brand”.

In 2012-13, he was a member of the Prime Minister’s advisory group and is currently chairman of London First, a membership organisation promoting the capital as a business centre.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee will now hold a pre-appointment hearing to report on Dilley’s suitability for the post.

Smith leaves the EA at the end of second three-year term. He faced criticism over the EA’s response severe flooding in Somerset during the winter.

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