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Chairman appointed for Network Rail vegetation management review

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Rail minister Jo Johnson has appointed John Varley OBE TD to chair the review of Network Rail’s approach to vegetation management in England and Wales.

John Varley is currently the director of Clinton Devon Estates and oversees the management of 10,000 hectares of land across east and north Devon, covering a range of operations, including farming, forestry and the maintenance of residential and commercial assets. He will take up the post with immediate effect.

John previously served as an independent government advisor during the Lawton Review, Making space for nature, in 2010.

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He was subsequently appointed to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Independent Forestry Panel in 2011.

John is also a non-executive board member of the Environment Agency and was previously a board member for Natural England.

The review was launched in May in response to public concern that Network Rail’s tree felling programme is harming wildlife.

At the same time, Jo Johnson told Network Rail to suspend all felling projects during this year’s nesting season, except for in safety critical areas.

This review will not cover Network Rail’s activities in Scotland, which are a devolved matter for the Scottish Government.

Read more: Crossrail chairman moves to HS2