Levy Board UK members unveiled

New makeup for levy boards revealed.

Secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs David Miliband has announced the members for Levy Board UK. The new board will consist of 10 members, and four independent companies. Sector company chair for potatoes will be Janet Bainbridge, a professor of biotechnology and food science. She has been a member of the British Potato Council (BPC) since 2004 and also chairs the BPC R&D committee and the HSE Scientific Advisory Committee on Genetic Manipulation (Contained Use) among other responsibilities. BPC chief executive Helen Priestley said the BPC was pleased with Bainbridge’s appointment. She said: “Janet understands the issues facing the industry and has helped the BPC focus delivery of the many services levy-payers receive. “The coming months are going to be critical to shaping the new organisation and I very much look forward to working with Janet and her new board in developing the plans for the potato sector.” Independent business consultant John Hall, who specialises in the fresh produce, food and horticulture sectors, is the sector company chair for horticulture. Hall has been a director, non-executive director and regional operations manager for a number of horticulture businesses in West Sussex, an active member of the West Sussex Growers’ Association for 30 years and worked for the NFU, serving on the board of horticulture among other committees. Hall was managing director of Needham Growers when it went into administration in 2005. HDC chairman Colin Harvey said: “I have already spoken to John and congratulated him on his appointment. All at HDC look forward to assisting him in every way to ensure a smooth transition, which will ensure continuity of delivery to growers. With John’s background I’m sure he will champion this ethos.” Other board members include north-west Norfolk farmer John Cross, who is representing beef and lamb, and Jonathan Tipples, who is a Linking Environment & Farming (LEAF) advisory committee member and vice-chair of Assured Food Standards, representing cereals and oilseed. Miliband said: “This is a significant day for levy payers as they now know who will be responsible for helping to deliver a new levy board structure by April 2008. “I am confident that, with the wealth of experience Levy Board UK possesses, it will ensure that levies are raised, and spent, cost-effectively.” John Bridge has already been announced as chair designate. The members met for the first time earlier this week.

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