CEN Chairman Ben Goldsmith celebrates a successful year and welcomes new director

The Conservative Environment Network welcomes its new Director, Sam Richards. Sam, a long time campaigner for conservative environmentalism, joins from roles in Parliament, Nissan, and most recently as Head of Strategy at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

He takes over from Sam Barker who has been working part-time, and is now leaving the organisation as he continues treatment for cancer. Mark Holmes, who has been acting as Interim Director for the last 12 months, is also leaving at the end of the month to pursue other opportunities.

Ben Goldsmith, CEN’s Chairman, said:

“I want to pay the warmest possible tribute to Sam Barker and Mark Holmes. Sam brought full-time professional leadership to the organisation. Sam’s insights and experience have set the bar high for our organisation’s work. His decade of experience in public policy and civil society has added immeasurably to our work and to the conservative environmentalist cause. We all wish him well as he continues to undergo treatment.”

“Mark has had a tremendous impact in the 12 months he was leading CEN’s work. Through his engagement with a wide network of Ministers, advisors, MPs and UK civil society we have helped to secure significant wins for the environment. He has facilitated high profile print, TV and radio coverage of our work, praise from the Prime Minister at PMQ’s and a string of highly successful events. Mark’s excellent political judgement has been invaluable in turbulent times and we wish him well for the future.”

“I’m delighted that Sam Richards is joining CEN as our permanent Director. We’re lucky to have him and I look forward to supporting his leadership of CEN going forward.”

Sam Barker said:

“CEN has always set the standard for Conservative Environmentalism. It has been a privilege to be part of that.

I’m proud of the legacy our work is creating in Government. Michael Gove’s dynamism at Defra is legendary. Greg Clark and Claire Perry are fighting for a future-focussed industrial strategy, for decarbonisation and ending dirty coal use, Boris is working to expand Marine Reserves. The Prime Minister is committed to fighting plastic pollution, and to protecting the Paris agreement. All this depends on a groundswell of support from conservative activists, councillors, MP’s and peers, with whom it has been a privilege to work. CEN publications and events have provided the impetus for much of this change. It is great to be handing over to a talented operator like Sam Richards.

Finally I would like to pay tribute to the board and the many others who have supported me and my family in a crazily unexpected situation. Life throws odd curveballs, but the support of friends, and the opportunity to keep campaigning has brought lots of joy!”

Mark Holmes said:

“It has been a pleasure to work across UK politics and civil society to promote conservative environmentalism through the Conservative Environment Network. CEN has helped shape the debate both in and out of government and bolster the argument for higher environmental standards and innovative approaches to policy making. I would particularly like to thank the CEN team and our champions in parliament for their support. I wish Sam Richards every success leading CEN. ”

Sam Richards said:

“I’m thrilled to be joining CEN at such an exciting time for the organisation and the conservative environmentalist movement. As the UK leaves the European Union and looks to strengthen its climate targets, there are huge opportunities to change how we approach environmental issues in the UK and beyond. I’m looking forward to continuing CEN’s unique position at the heart of the UK environmental movement.”