THE new chairman of Natural England has been appointed.

Andrew Sells is expected to take up the post on January 20.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: "This is an incredibly important role which carries significant responsibilities. I am delighted to have confirmed Mr Andrew Sells as Chairman of Natural England and I look forward to him bringing his particular skills and insights to the Board.”

There is a requirement for an appointee’s political activity (if any) to be declared, and Mr Sells has declared that he has made donations to the Conservative Party in the past, said the Department of Environment.

He was also co-treasurer of the cross-party 'NO2AV' (alternative vote) campaign (and a donor to thE campaign), and did some public speaking on the Alternative Vote referendum.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed Mr Sells to the role and asked for a meeting As Chair of the Parliamentary All Party Group on Hill Farming, Tim wants to meet with Andrew to discuss the plight of hill farmers and work to keep pressing the case for agriculture in Westminster.

Mr Farron said: “I want to congratulate Andrew for his appointment as the new chair of Natural England. It’s a vital position and I hope that working together we can make sure that hill farmers are heard in Westminster. I hope that we can meet soon to push this forward and work together for local farmers.”