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Top Defra air quality official to leave in April

The top Defra official with overall responsibility for air quality, Dr Colin Church, is to leave the Department in early April

The top Defra official with overall responsibility for air quality, Dr Colin Church, is to leave the Department in early April.

Dr Colin Church is to step down from Defra

Dr Colin Church is to step down from Defra in April 2016

Dr Church is understood to be leaving the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as well as the civil service altogether, after a career where he has held a number of senior posts working for government.

No confirmation of his successor has yet been made public, but Dr Church – who holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Imperial University – announced his departure earlier this month saying: “Lots to do over the next three monthsâ€?.

Before taking on his current post as director of resource, atmosphere & sustainability at Defra, he was responsible for exotic animal disease policy and outbreak handling.

Prior to this he worked at the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) on Carbon Budgets. He has also worked in the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business and has a background in EU and international environmental policy.

Dr Church has seen a number of air quality ministers come and go while working at the Department and was also in post last year when the Supreme Court ordered Defra to publish a new air quality plan for the UK before the end of 2015.

Since that judgment, he has also overseen the department’s response and publication of the new plan last month. The case is still ongoing however and will now be followed up by his successor.

A regular user of Twitter, Dr Church has highlighted the reduction in size of the civil service to 393,000 full time equivalent posts, the lowest since World War Two.

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