Poul Christensen, who will continue as chair of Natural England

Poul Christensen, who will continue as chair of Natural England

Oxfordshire farmer Poul Christensen will continue as the boss of the Government’s advisory body on the outdoors.

Mr Christensen’s tenure as chair of Natural England has been extended to the end of next year.

He took up the £72,740-a-year post following the death from cancer in 2009 of the previous chair, Sir Martin Doughty, a champion of outdoor access rights.

Mr Christensen is director of a family dairy farming business at Kingston Hill Farm, in Oxfordshire. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, announcing his extension in the post, said he has a long track record of integrating conservation with the demands of modern farming.

Defra added: “The appointment has been made in accordance with the code issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.”

Mr Christensen is joint founder of the Tenant Farmers’ Association, established in 1981 to provide a voice for tenant farmers. He was previously chairman of Milk Marque in the late 1990s, chair of the Rural Development Service until 2006, and a member of the Defra Management Board before taking up the appointment of chair at Natural England.

He is currently a director of Agricultural Central Trading, a farmer supply cooperative and is a board member of the UK’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

He was elected as president-elect of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, in April this year, and in the same month was advanced as a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies.

His salary as chair of Natural England is for a three-day working week, and would equate to a full-time pay rate of £121,333.

His reappointment for a further 16 months was confirmed by Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman.

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