Dr Charles Beardall OBE

Environment

‘We have a huge amount to do’: Climate warning from Environment Agency director

Dr Charles Beardall OBE, one of the region's most prominent environmentalists, has retired after 24 years at the Environment Agency. Upon his retirement, Charlie, as he is known, offered a stark warning about the threat of climate change.

"When I started my career in the 1980s the big issues for the environment were things like acid rain and pesticides, depletion of the ozone layer and habitat destruction,” said Dr Beardall. “Climate change barely got a mention - in fact it was quite a fringe issue.”

He continued: "It's amazing that in just one career we've escalated from something that was nothing to something that is threatening our existence on this planet. We have a huge amount to do to make sure East Anglia adapts quickly to the changes that are coming, not only to the coast but also to the sustainable management of water resources, biodiversity and the economy of our region."

Dr Charles Beardall at the opening of the Ipswich Flood Barrier

In his time as Area Director, Charlie has played a key role in the delivery of numerous important flood protection schemes across the region (including at Ipswich, Happisburgh to Winterton, Southwold, Felixstowe and other locations) as well as overseeing the response to the huge tidal surges in 2007, 2013 and 2017.

With a 500 mile stretch of coastline to protect, featuring myriad challenges particularly in the face of climate change and sea level rise, internationally important wetlands, a National Park and a nuclear power station; a vast system of rivers to manage and many vital assets to maintain, Charlie has been a pioneer for change across East Anglia.

Charlie has been a true champion for the environment in East Anglia and led by example for a quarter of a century. His passion and leadership skills have helped inspire his talented team to deliver real change and progress.

Sir James Bevan, Environment Agency Chief Executive
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