Spain steps in as interim chief at Natural England after Cross quits

The government has confirmed that James Cross has quit as chief executive at Natural England and it has appointed Natural England board member, Marian Spain as interim chief.

Spain (pictured), who is the chief executive of conservation charity, Plantlife International, will take up the Natural England post shortly to "provide leadership and continuity while the recruitment of a permanent successor is carried out," the government said.

Natural England chairman, Andrew Sells, is to retire in the New Year.

Cross' departure after four years at the helm at Natural England came as the organisation was embroiled in a row over Defra's secondment of about 50 of its staff for Brexit roles.