The OEP Chair and interim CEO appear before Select Committee

On Wednesday, 23 March, the Chair and interim Chief Executive of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), Dame Glenys Stacey and Natalie Prosser, appeared before the Environment Audit Committee. 

The Select Committee hearing was called to discuss the OEP’s proposed strategy and enforcement policy.

The hearing can be viewed here

Topics covered during the session included: progress in the establishment of the OEP, including the recruitment of new staff and the diversity of the workforce; how the organisation’s strategy was developed and how its effectiveness will be evaluated; how the OEP will communicate about its complaints procedure with the public and the organisation’s approach to monitoring environmental law. 

The hearing also covered how the OEP is deciding which issues to focus its activity on, including a discussion on air quality and water quality, and the organisation’s relationship with Defra and wider government, including how independence is being maintained and protected and how we can be influential across all departments. How the OEP will carry out its role in Northern Ireland was also discussed.

Funding was a significant topic for the Committee, with questions around whether the OEP has sufficient funding and resources to carry out its work. The discussions were informed by a letter from the Secretary of State for the Environment, the Rt Hon George Eustice MP, to Dame Glenys and copied to the Chair of the EAC, confirming the budget for the OEP for the financial year 2022/23 and an indicative budget for five years. 

The letter from the Secretary of State can be seen here.