Finding a better way to do things
John Barwise talks to former Environment Agency chief executive Paul Leinster
After a career at the Environment Agency spanning 17 years, Paul Leinster stepped down as chief executive on 25 September. Leinster, an IEMA Fellow, joined the regulator in 1998, becoming CEO in 2008. Before leaving his post to join Cranfield University, where he will be professor of environmental assessment and help to develop a strategic centre for atmospheric informatics and emissions technology, Leinster spoke with IEMA member John Barwise about his career and the changing role of the agency.
You arrived at the agency with a chemistry degree and a PhD, having worked at a number of high-profile firms, such as SmithKline Beecham and BP International. How important was it to have this background when you started at the regulator?
I think it gave me the ability to see something from both sides. What we were trying to do in terms of protecting and improving the environment, and then the challenges the businesses face in doing that – I knew what it was like on the other side. A big driver for me in joining the agency was that I’d seen environmental regulation and health and safety legislation in more than 30 countries. And I wanted use the learning from those places to come up ...