Changes at the top of the Broads Authority

The Broads Authority has appointed a new chairman and vice chairman - both of whom are keen sailors.

Professor Jacquie Burgess who lives in Trowse is the Authority’s second female chairman, following in the footsteps of Viscountess Sheelin Knollys OBE. Sir Peter Dixon, who has a home in Hickling, is vice chairman.

Jacquie takes over from Dr Stephen Johnson, who has been chairman for seven years and has left at the end of his appointment term after guiding the Authority through some major milestones.

Stephen became a Member in 2007 after retiring as Director of Operations of the Heritage Lottery Fund. Within 15 months he was voted in as chairman and became widely respected by the other National Park Authorities and Government Ministers.

The Authority benefitted from his experience with the HLF by receiving expert advice on making funding bids and he was asked to carry out the staffing review for National Parks England.

Stephen was chairman of the Broads Forum for 18 months, representing Broads interest groups, and served on the Broads Trust and the Authority’s planning committee and financial scrutiny and audit committee.

Jacquie Burgess said he was astute and considerate with a good political sense. “‘Stephen has been an excellent chairman of the Broads Authority since 2009, leading us through some difficult times, especially in relation to the Government cuts to National Park grants since 2010. Under his chairmanship, the Broads Authority has strengthened its work of protecting this special landscape and balancing the interests of the many different groups of people who value and use the park.” 

Stephen said: “I have greatly enjoyed my time on the Authority, and eight years has flown past. The list of the Authority's achievements in that period is impressive and not without some considerable challenges, but it is due to the strategic vision of Members and the resilience and support of staff that so much has been done.”

Jacquie Burgess, an Emeritus Professor of the University of East Anglia, was appointed a Member by the Secretary of State in 2012 and was elected vice chairman a year later.

Jacquie attended the Blyth School in Norwich and studied geography at Hull University where she was a member of the rowing team. She joined the geography department at University College London in 1975 and became its first ever woman professor in 1998. She joined the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA in 2006 and a year later became its first female head.

Jacquie is a specialist in the cultural significance of landscapes and places and the importance of involving stakeholders and communities in decisions.

She played a key role last autumn in the Broads Authority’s stakeholder surveys which will form the basis for the Authority’s new strategies for 2015-16.

Although Jacquie never had the opportunity to sail as a child she has taken up the challenge in her sixties and is learning the ropes with expert tuition from sailors at the Norfolk Broads Yacht Club in Wroxham.

“I have known and loved the Broads landscapes since I was a child, “ she says “and once in the blood, the love of wild, wet, watery places never dies.”

Her grandchildren are growing up in Norfolk and she relishes sharing her love of these places with them.

Sir Peter Dixon, who owns several boats from a traditional Broads sailing cruiser to a canoe, is a member of many Broads organisations. He is a life member of Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Broads Society and is a member of Norfolk Broads Yacht Club and the River Cruiser Class. He is former president of the Oxford and Cambridge Sailing Society and a member of the British Canoe Union. He is also a keen bird watcher. Sir Peter has worked in a variety of public service roles and is currently chairman of Diabetes UK and The Imperial College Health Partners.

Matthew Bradbury, national Director of Operations for the Land Trust, and John Ash, who was administrator for the Broads Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund for six years have been appointed Members of the Broads Authority by the Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Thursday 26 March 2015