The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has appointed James Morrish as the chairman of the South West Regional Flood Defence Committee and Gavin Bloomfield as conservation member on the same committee.
Regional Flood Defence Committees are responsible for decisions made on flood and coastal erosion defence works carried out in their regions by the Environment Agency.
Defra and the Environment Agency advertised for people living in Devon and Cornwall who could help in the prevention and management of the ever increasing risk of flooding.
The South West Regional Flood Defence Committee, is responsible for deciding on the Environment Agency’s annual programme of flood defence improvement and maintenance work.
The committee is made up of Local Authority members and Defra representatives to oversee the delivery of a multi million pound programme of work. It meets four times a year at the Environment Agency offices in Exeter and Bodmin.
The appointments took effect from beginning of October 2010 and will run until end of September 2013.
James Morrish is the current leader of Torridge District Council and leader of the Conservative Group on the council. Having been educated at local schools, James soon became very much involved in the family farm at St Giles in the Wood in the heart of Torridge.
After leaving education James was appointed as the South West Officer for farming charity Rural Stress Information Network and continued to work in that position until 2005 when he became the Charity’s chief executive.
He was recognised for his work during that time and was awarded the Country Life Young Ambassador for the Countryside in 2002 and the NFU Farming Ambassador in 2003.
From 2003 to 2005 James was chairman of the North Devon Area of Natural Beauty and has spent his whole life supporting the Young Farmers Movement including as National Activities Chairman at the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs. Since 2006 James has also worked for Kivells as pig and equine auctioneer as well as head of public relations.
He told the Devon Week: “This committee plays a critical role in delivering our strategic aims in relation to flood risk. Living in an area that has the wonderful coastline of Northern Devon in it, I am very aware of the challenges that face shoreline communities as well as the issues facing local authorities in terms of planning policies linked to flood risk.”