The agency is a public body responsible for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales.
The head of external relations post reports to director of comms Helen McCallum and is responsible for European Union parliamentary affairs, UK parliamentary affairs, community relations and international work with developing countries. It also oversees a press team of nine.
‘The environment is changing, so the way we communicate with people is changing too,’ said a spokesman. ‘Once it was about communicating with businesses but now we need to communicate with groups of people what we don’t normally regulate.’
He added that global climate change means the agency needs to communicate on issues such as flood defences and drought. As the threat of flooding grows more real, it will no longer be economically viable or worthwhile to prevent floods in certain areas of the UK.
After four years at the Environment Agency, Thompson will join the Royal Shakespeare Company as director of communications. She has previously worked for Burson Marsteller, the Countryside Agency and drug, alcohol and mental health charity Turning Point.
She will replace Roger Mortlock, who left in February to join the Soil Association as a deputy director of comms (PRWeek, 17 January).