Blog Post by New UKWP Chair, Sarah Hendry

Sarah Hendry has been the Director General of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) since 2018. After studying Modern Languages at Oxford University, she was a civil servant for nearly 30 years, working mostly within Defra but also in the Cabinet Office and Department of Health. She was a Director for 12 years, covering a wide range of policy areas including rural development, Common Agricultural Policy reform, animal health and welfare, farming, forestry, climate change, global and public health. From 2015 – 18, Sarah was the Defra director for Floods and Water policy and a member of the UKWP Leadership Council.

Read Sarah’s blog post below:

“I am delighted – and considerably flattered – to be part of the UK Water Partnership again, as its new chair.  It was great to see old friends at the Leadership Council in July (though sadly via video) but also to meet some of the more recent partners who have joined.

I feel that the need for the Partnership has become even more urgent since I was last involved in 2018.  The welcome, and long overdue, worldwide consensus that urgent action is needed to arrest climate change, and tackle the impacts we are already experiencing, has put water right in the public spotlight.  In 2018 I wouldn’t have predicted that flash floods and that state of our rivers would by now be widespread topics of concern on social media in the UK.  The hard questions and pressure for action mean that an effective mechanism for connecting people to drive innovative solutions is essential. 

The UK Water Partnership is unique in its potential to make this happen but my sense, from the relatively few people I have so far had the chance to talk to, is that it is not yet fulfilling its ambition.  Eighteen months of lockdown haven’t helped but I’d like to see us making up for that now with fresh impetus and a clear operating model that will help us recruit and retain new members.

I plan to speak to each of the Leadership Council members over the coming weeks to hear your views on the next steps for the Partnership.  I am really looking forward to your ideas and enthusiasm!”

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