Chair nominations for Environmental Audit Committee

The nominations for Select Committee Chairs ran from 4-10 June and the ballot will be on Wednesday 17 June from 10am to 5pm. On this page you can find the full list of nominees for the Environmental Audit Committee, the Committee Chair will be a member of the Labour Party.

Nominated by (own party) 

Margaret Beckett, Caroline Flint, Gloria De Piero, Mr Chuka Umunna, Kate Hoey, Margaret Hodge, Ms Gisela Stuart, Keir Starmer, Naz Shah, Lyn Brown, Tristram Hunt, Stephen Timms, Jeremy Corbyn, Rushanara Ali, Luciana Berger

Nominated by (other parties)

Mrs Cheryl Gillan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, Mr David Davis, Mr Nick Hurd, Caroline Lucas


The Principles:
It could be interrupted energy supplies. It could be collapse of fish stocks, or air pollution. Whatever the environmental disaster, the role of the Environmental Audit Committee is NOT to shout at government when policies have gone spectacularly wrong.  It is to secure sound evidence from witnesses that can inform policy and help government to take the right decisions in the first place. Then hold them to account if they don’t.

The Personal:
Environmental Parliamentarian of the Year in 2013, the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Managers went so far as to call me “one of the most influential environmental thinkers in politics today”. Let’s face it the field isn’t large!

As a Minister and now Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment, Fisheries and Water my knowledge of the issues ranges from biodiversity corridors to carbon trading and I have published academic articles in both SCIENCE and NATURE Climate Change.

The Proof:
I ask for your vote because I get things done…

  • I pioneered the England Coast Path. 
  • I established the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime. 
  • I drew up the UK government’s procurement policy for legal and sustainable timber. 
  • I put forward the 2030 decarbonisation target with Tim Yeo (Conservative former chair of the DECC Select Committee). 
  • And already in this parliament I have worked with Zac Goldsmith (Conservative) and Alison Thewliss (SNP) to build a cross party consensus on Air Pollution.


  • I led the UK delegation at the International Whaling Commission in Alsaka that worked to stop Japan overturning the ban on commercial whaling. 
  • As Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Forests I worked with Noble Peace Prize Winner, Wangari Maathai, to set up the Congo Basin Forest Fund: providing £58million to protect the world’s second largest rainforest. 
  • In 2011 I was commissioned to write the Green Growth Strategy for the Commonwealth Business Council.
  • In 2013 the Scottish Parliament invited me to give the closing address at the World’s First Natural Capital Forum in Edinburgh.

The Parliamentary Experience

  • On the Public Accounts Committee I worked on the issue of tobacco smuggling to secure an MOU between tobacco companies and the Treasury. 
  • My questioning on the Energy and Climate Change Committee put an end to doorstep selling.
  • My questioning of witnesses in the meat trade on the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee helped to expose the murkier elements of the Horsemeat Scandal.

Before my 18 years in parliament I began as an academic philosopher before becoming senior partner of an international company of maritime arbitrators in the City of London. I am able to analyse economic evidence, summarise reports and draw people from different starting points to shared conclusions -- precisely the skills needed to chair any Audit Committee. My breadth of experience of environmental policy means that I can apply these skills to the job of chairing the Environmental Audit Committee to the benefit of parliament.

The Proviso:
Only if you vote for me.
Thank you………………….Barry Gardiner No.1

Nominated by (own party) 

Barbara Keeley, Wayne David, Angela Smith, Stephen Kinnock, Andrew Gwynne, Ann Clwyd, Karl Turner, Rob Marris, Sarah Champion, Mike Kane, Pat Glass, Valerie Vaz, Gordon Marsden, Paul Flynn, Bill Esterson

Nominated by (other parties) 

Neil Parish, Sir Nicholas Soames, Dr Matthew Offord, Mr Mark Williams, Mr Laurence Robertson


I am standing for election for the Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee, as I believe that I have the capabilities and experience and the passion to lead this important committee. I will work constructively with all parliamentary colleagues across the nations and regions of the UK, bolstered by the skills and experience of committee members, to ensure the committee is an effective, bold and respected watchdog for the natural environment and sustainable development.

Over my fourteen years in parliament I have developed a reputation for sound judgement and integrity, for collegiate cross-party working, and for the ability to scrutinise effectively and fairly the working of government. I will bring those qualities and skills to the role of Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, with your support.

This powerful and wide-ranging Committee has a unique role in auditing the performance of all government departments and non-departmental bodies against their targets and objectives on sustainable development and environmental protection. At a critical time for sustainability and the natural environment globally and domestically, the Committee can help government as well as holding government to account, principally by ensuring that: 

  • government achieves the appropriate balance between the three pillars of sustainable development – the economy, environment, and society - in all policies and in policy-making, and always seeks to champion sustainable development and the natural environment in the UK and globally
  • well-being and inequality are at the heart of government policy on sustainable development in the UK (for example, in air quality improvements) and also in negotiations on ambitious SDG targets at an EU and UN level
  • people and communities are actively engaged in policy and decisions on the natural environment and sustainability which affect them directly, and also those policies which affect distant and future generations

My roles as a Defra Minister for the Marine and Natural Environment (2008-2010) shadow Energy Minister for DECC (2010-11) and shadow Minister for Food, Farming and Rural Affairs (2011-15) have equipped me with a great depth of experience and knowledge in sustainable development and environmental protection.

As DEFRA minister I was privileged to assist with many ground-breaking environmental initiatives, including: the introduction of water catchment management plans; biodiversity action plans at a local and national level; the development of the ground-breaking The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study which furthered our understanding of Natural Capital; promoting sustainable fisheries in the EU and globally; the creation of a new National Park in the South Downs; climate change adaptation plans, including enhanced flood defence and flood resilience.

During the last parliament I was delighted to receive a CIWEM award for Environmental MP of the Year for my work, and have continued my active engagement in sustainable development and environmental issues. I hope to take this passion for sustainability and the natural environment forward, working with parliamentary colleagues, in chairing the Environmental Audit Select Committee.

Nominated by (own party)

Mike Gapes, Mr Barry Sheerman, Emily Thornberry, Julie Elliott, Mr Michael Meacher, Meg Hillier, Albert Owen, Paula Sherriff, Daniel Zeichner, Mr Andrew Smith, Toby Perkins, Nia Griffith, Kerry McCarthy, Kelvin Hopkins, Kevin Barron

Nominated by (other parties)

Caroline Nokes, Dr Phillip Lee


The Environmental Audit select committee occupies an almost unique position in the Select Committee structure being Parliaments environmental ‘watchdog’ across all Government Departments, with an added brief to report on wider issues of environmental concern on all executive initiatives. The demise of the Sustainable Development Commission, which had many similarities in its brief to that of EAC, has made this cross-cutting environmental function all the more important.

In order to deliver such a wide-ranging brief on behalf of the House, it is essential that the Committee is chaired by someone who ‘knows what they doing’, and I can put myself forward for the role of Chairman on this basis.

I have spent much of my time in Parliament championing environmental, climate change and low carbon energy issues, and in chairing cross party groups on these issues, including a long-standing chairmanship of the Parliamentary Renewable and sustainable energy Group (PRASEG). I have served  on committees of major Environmental Bills passing through the house, including the climate Change Bill, the Marine bill and a number of energy Bills: I have also been a long standing member of the Energy and Climate Change Select committee.  I have gained considerable expertise on environmental issues and indeed last year I was given a national ‘Green Ribbon’ award for ‘special recognition of Environmental Achievement’.

I have also worked alongside a particularly dedicated group of parliamentary colleagues on the Environmental Audit Committee over the last five years, under the chairmanship of Joan Whalley, and was proud to have been of assistance in producing a number of key reports on the future of the Artic, pollinators, sustainable food strategy, and a green ‘scorecard’ for Government. I would hope to be able to take these advances in the contribution made by the committee further by continuing to work along the same lines and to develop further the experiments the Committee introduced of working outside Parliament itself, both in terms of participation and hearings, and in involving scientific environmental networks as collaborators on the Committee’s proceedings.

There is a substantial agenda ahead of the committee over the next period – negotiations on sustainable Development goals the Climate change Paris summit (COP21) in December, the publication of the fifth Carbon Budget from the Committee on Climate Change and the decisions that will need to be made on UK energy decarbonisation targets, the developing work on natural capital in government and a host of other key issues. It would be an honour, with the support of parliamentary colleagues to be able to chair the committee through and beyond these crucial environmental developments.