Director of Environment Strategy

Contract Type
Flexible Hours, Permanent
Environment, Public Sector
Bristol, London, York
Expiry Date
We are seeking an outstanding candidate to be the Director of Environment Strategy for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Job Description

This is a key leadership role, driving forward the implementation of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and climate change goals both within Defra and across government.

The Director of Environment Strategy is a pivotal and outward-facing role in a fast-paced and dynamic environment, working closely with Ministers and across government and external partners. This will be a stretching, high profile and rewarding position, with the opportunity to shape Defra’s strategic approach to restoring the environment for the next generation, leaving it in a better state than we found it.

Defra is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.

The Director of Environment Strategy is a key leadership and pivotal role. It is a stretching, high profile and rewarding position with the opportunity to shape Defra’s strategic approach to restoring and enhancing the environment for the next generation, leaving it in a better state than we found it.

This role will drive forward the implementation of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan both within Defra and across other government departments and lead our work on climate change, including both Defra’s contribution to the Government’s net zero goals, and taking the cross-Government lead on climate adaptation, all informed by high quality, rigorous analysis. You will provide the lead for strategic delivery of Defra’s Outcome Delivery Plan for the Priority Outcomes relating to the Environment and Net Zero and will support delivery of other outcomes such as the coordination of environmental policy inputs into the design and development of Environmental Land Management, the key reforms to the future funding of farmers and land managers to drive better environmental outcomes. You will lead our work across Government to promote thriving rural communities.

This is an outward facing role, in a fast paced and dynamic environment, reaching across the Defra group, other Government Departments and external partners. You will shape, set and hone a diverse range of departmental strategic priorities and connect them to wider government priorities such as leveraging Green Finance and contributing to Project Speed. You will lead the major programme of reforms currently being legislated for in the Environment Bill including a new legal framework of legally binding targets to secure better environmental outcomes, and driving key reforms such as the introduction of Biodiversity Net Gain.

You will work closely with Ministers, senior leaders as well as teams across the Department, the Defra Group and with Cabinet Office, No 10 and Treasury and other Government Departments on all these issues. As such you will need to have excellent interpersonal, influencing and communication skills to build and maintain very strong links and relationships to advance the strategic agenda. You will be working in a very dynamic and fast paced environment and so must be comfortable dealing with change and new and novel issues, be able to show excellent judgement and analytical ability to provide robust advice identify key issues quickly and confidently. You will be effective at building relationships with a very wide range of external partners, developing new partnerships to achieve better environmental outcomes and progress the 25 Year Plan goals.


As Director Environment Strategy, your main responsibilities include:

• Provide visible, effective leadership across the full span of the 25 Year Environment Plan and our climate change goals both within Defra and cross government – including both Defra’s net zero plan and the cross-Government lead on adaptation

• Leading a high-performing and inclusive team, ensuring that Environment Strategy Directorate is a great place to work, where everyone can thrive.

• Overseeing delivery of the flagship Environment Bill, and implementation of several key reforms including new legally binding environmental targets; Biodiversity Net Gain; and the introduction of local nature recovery strategies

• Leading the ERM Group’s approach to fiscal events and ensure the Department achieves a successful outcome that reflects our priorities.

• Be accountable for the delivery of robust business planning, performance management and risk processes across the 25 Year Environment Plan outcomes ensuring the Department and our Arms-Length Bodies are focused on the achievement of key outcomes; supported by excellent underpinning analytical functions.

• Influence, engage collaboratively and manage complex relationships with senior leaders and stakeholders across Government and externally and ensure high quality advice is provided on the full range of strategic environmental issues.

• Develop the Department’s capacity and capability to leverage green private finance, working closely with other departments and the private sector

• Make a strong contribution to the leadership of the ERM Group and Defra as a whole.

Please visit the link for full details on the role, including the person specification and information on how to apply.