Prof Matthews has held a variety of senior positions in the environmental field, in both the private and public sectors. He has been deputy managing director of Anglian Water International, president of the European Water Association and chair of the Northern Ireland authority for Utility Regulation. He also served on the Royal Commission for Environmental Pollution and is a visiting professor at Anglia Ruskin University.
The Minister said:
“I am delighted to announce Professor Matthews’ appointment. He has had a long and distinguished career in the environmental sector and his wealth of experience will provide an excellent foundation for driving forward our new single body.
“Prof Matthews has successfully worked with ministers within Northern Ireland’s devolved administration. He also has excellent business credentials due to his successful time at one of the UK’s largest water companies.”
Speaking about his appointment Prof Matthews said:
“I am really excited to be appointed to this position. Realising the vision of a single body for Wales will be the culmination of my life’s work of working in sustainable environmental management.
“The concepts behind this new body are cutting edge and I look forward to working with everyone to put Wales at the forefront of natural resource management. We will draw on the strengths of the current bodies and make the people of Wales proud of what we achieve.
“One of my early priorities is to recruit the new body’s chief executive, followed by a board, to join me in providing strong leadership as we embark on this journey together."
It is a key Programme for Government action for the Welsh Government to bring together the Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales and Forestry Commission for Wales as one organisation. The single body will become fully operational on 1 April 2013.
One single body will ensure the most sustainable and effective management of Wales’ natural resources. The transition from three environment bodies to one is estimated to result in benefits worth £158m over a ten year period allowing greater investment in frontline delivery of services.