Consistency welcomed as Defra avoids cabinet reshuffle

Theresa May’s reshuffle this week has seen a number of key positions shaken up, but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) remained notably consistent.

Consistency welcomed as Defra avoids cabinet reshuffle
Michael Gove will remain as Environment Secretary
14 new additions to the government were led by notable changes to the Education and Justice department, but Defra’s ministers have remained stable with Michael Gove retaining his role as Secretary of State after being moved from the Ministry of Justice in 2017.

George Eustice, Lord Gardiner of Kimble and Therese Coffey also retained their posts in the department, with the latter tweeting yesterday (9 January) that she was ‘delighted to have been reappointed as Environment Minister today.’

The constancy has been welcomed by members of the waste and resources industry, especially with May and Gove set to launch the long-awaited and much-delayed 25-Year Plan for the Environment on Thursday (11 January). The plan has already been pushed back while Gove recast it in his image, and so a further reshuffle could have further scuppered plans for its publication.

The department’s leadership remains, however, with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK’s CEO David Palmer-Jones commenting: “This consistency of leadership at Defra is very much welcomed and is crucial if the UK wants to stand any chance of being a future leader in resource-efficiency, sustainability and environmental protection. We have seen recycling and environmental themes capture the attention of the public and policy-makers in recent months and it is important that this momentum is maintained, not squandered.

Consistency welcomed as Defra avoids cabinet reshuffle
Therese Coffey said she was 'delighted' to be reappointed as Resources Minister
“While our sector has a great deal to offer the environment, it is also a complex one to grasp, and the ministerial merry-go-round at Defra in previous years has resulted in ministers spending their short tenure learning their brief rather than making policy.

“In Michael Gove and Therese Coffey we have informed, highly proficient leaders who seem to grasp the potential of the resource management sector and we are glad to be able to continue working with them to help create a more sustainable United Kingdom.”

Defra’s most recent action came into force yesterday, a ban on the manufacture of products containing microbeads which the department described as ‘one of the world’s toughest’.   

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