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28 October 2002
Resignation of SEPA Chief Executive
24 October 2002
A SEPA PRESS RELEASE (www.sepa.org.uk) made the following statement
on 24th Oct 2002
Tricia Henton, Chief Executive of the Scottish
Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), has resigned after nearly
seven years with the organisation.
Ms Henton joined SEPA in September 1995 as Director
of Environmental Strategy, bringing with her a background in sustainable
development and environmental policy. She became Chief Executive
in 2000 and has since supervised a significant organisational restructure.
Having seen this through she now wishes to pursue a career elsewhere.
SEPA Chairman Ken Collins said:
On behalf of the Board I would like to thank
Tricia for the work she has done for SEPA, not least in promoting
the image and identity of the Agency among our stakeholders.
Ms Hentons resignation is effective immediately.
To ensure that SEPAs important work can continue uninterrupted
whilst the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive is underway,
arrangements are being made to appoint an acting Chief Executive
for the interim period.
The recruitment exercise for the post of Chief
Executive will be carried out in line with government guidance on
public appointments and the post will be openly advertised as soon
Resignation with immediate effect from
a post that has been held for seven years because she now wishes
to pursue a career elsewhere seems a rather odd way of running things.
SEPA is one of the biggest quangos there is (if not the biggest)
with enormous powers over land and water management in Scotland.
Yet apparently she can just up and off with immediate effect leaving
this massive bureaucracy looking for an acting chief executive before
going through the process of appointing a successor. Certainly within
the profession that I worked for before early retirement I (like
everyone else in a similar situation) was obliged to give 3 months
notice so that the service was not unduly compromised. Apparently
not so for the chief executive of a government funded quango.
Or was something else going on that we are
not told about?
Without any logical explanation as to why the
chief executive should up stumps and away with immediate effect,
one can only surmise that something is wrong somewhere and taxpayers
are entitled to know. Was there a disagreement between the chairman
and the chief executive?
Has the following got anything to do with
The chairman of SEPA, Ken Collins, was previously
a labour MEP and is presumably interested in putting current government
policy into effect. The chief executive (just resigned) is a scientist
by training. Could it be that the flawed science that much of SEPAs
efforts are based on, and which are actively pursued by government,
was no longer acceptable to the chief executive in her role as a
Perhaps someone might have the courtesy to tell
However that might be, it is pertinent to point
out the dialogue that has taken place between the National Farmers
Union of Scotland (NFUS) and the Scottish Executive as to the validity
of the science in relation to the imposition of nitrogen vulnerable
zones (NVZ) zones and all that that implies. This has been well
described by journalist Gordon Davidson in the Scottish Farmer (Figure
Could it also be that ploughing Scottish soil
is not after all so damaging as it is purported to be for climate
change? It is also a touch embarrassing for harmony between scientists
and politicians that organic farming is allegedly a big culprit
for dispersing nitrogen in the wrong places.
These are only thoughts - perhaps all was sweetness
and light within SEPA and its relationship with the Scottish Executive.
Ms Henton just happened to leave with immediate effect to take up
other interests elsewhere. Where? Maybe that is none of our business.
She just left.
Figure 1: Scottish Farmer, 26/10/02
for enlarged image (366KB)