Paul appointed as the new Chair of the North East England Nature Partnership

25 February 2019

Today the North East England Nature Partnership (NEENP) announced the appointent of their new Chair: Paul Brannen MEP.  Paul’s skills and experience span political, environmental, social and economic sectors which will be of huge benefit to the NEENP and in providing the leadership required for the partnership’s Vision for Environmental Growth to be realised.

Since 2014 Paul Brannen has represented the North East of England in the European Parliament.  Throughout this period he has served on two parliamentary committees, the Environment and Public Health Committee and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.  His most recent piece of legislative work was on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry the outcomes of which included the protection of peat bogs across the EU.

Paul has developed a specific area of knowledge pertaining to forestry, agroforestry, engineered timber production, building in wood at height and scale and modular factory housing.  This work sits within the wider bioeconomy, in particular the environmental benefits of the use of wood as a material and the creation of a green jobs economy.  The North East is ideally placed to take a lead in this area and Paul has worked specifically to that end as an MEP in recent years.

At the heart of an expanding North East bioeconomy based on using wood as a feedstock is the urgent need to increase significantly the region’s forest cover.  The numerous societal benefits that would flow from such an approach is where Paul’s MEP agenda and the NEENP strategy significantly overlap, hence Paul’s interest in being Chair.

While climate change is a threat it is also an opportunity to recalibrate our approach to our environment in a way that reduces carbon emissions, locks up carbon, increases biodiversity and creates green jobs.  The NEENP has a key role, working alongside the LEP and the local authorities, in creating a sense of opportunity and excitement around an agenda that has the possibility of making the North East of England the greenest English region and thereby making our region the most attractive place in the country to live, work, study, bring up children and retire to.

Andy Smith, NEENP communications lead for the executive group

“We are delighted to appoint Paul as our new Chair.  Paul’s skills and experience span political, environmental, social and economic sectors, which are valuable when promoting the important role of nature across the course of our lives.  Paul’s previous work as an advocator and consensus builder will provide the leadership required for the partnership’s Vision for Environmental Growth to be realised.”

Paul Brannen, NEENP Chair

“We have no more than 12 years to tackle the growing problem of climate change.  The good news is that we can do this in a way that generates good quality green jobs and creates a greener environment.  An environment that is attractive and accessible, that gets the folks of the North East to lead more active lives which will save the NHS huge sums of money by tackling obesity, diabetes, depression and other health problems via fresh air, exercise and better diets.  The environmental challenges we face are immense but we’ve cleaned our once filthy rivers and coastline, we’ve reversed the hole in the ozone layer, so we know where there is a will there is a way”.  

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