She took up the post of Chief Executive of the Environment Agency in December 2000.
Her early career was spent in public relations and in health services management. She was Chairman then President of the Institute of Health Services Management from 1986 to 1988, and a King’s Fund International Fellow in 1985-86 and 1990-1991.
Prior to taking up her post at the Environment Agency, Barbara Young was Chairman of English Nature and Vice Chairman of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). From 1990 to 1998, she held the post of Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
Barbara Young is a Life Peer in the House of Lords as Baroness Young of Old Scone, a Trustee of the Institute for Public Policy Research and a Patron of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management. She is a Vice President of the RSPB, Birdlife International, Plantlife and Flora and Fauna International; President of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough Wildlife Trust; Honorary Member of the RICS, of the Landscape Institute and of the Institute of Agricultural Engineers and Honorary Fellow of the Geologists’ Association. She holds Honorary Degrees from the University of Stirling (1995), University of Hertfordshire (1997), University of Cranfield (1998), University of York (2000), University of St Andrews (2000), University of Aberdeen (2000) and The Open University (2001) and is an Honorary Fellow of Sydney Sussex College, Cambridge (2003).