Government

Lochhead steps down from Scottish cabinet

Scotland to have food waste targetRichard Lochhead has stepped down from his role as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment ahead of a ministerial reshuffle in the Scottish Government.

In a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Lochhead wrote that he wished to spend more time with his wife, who announced last year that she is battling breast cancer, and children.

Lochhead was made Secretary for the Environment in 2007 by Sturgeon’s predecessor Alex Salmond and has lately overseen the development of a Household Recycling Charter and a circular economy strategy, ‘Making Things Last’, which introduced a national food waste reduction target, the first of its kind in Europe.

In his resignation letter, Lochhead wrote: ‘After much thought in recent months, I have taken the decision that after nine incredible but hectic years as a Cabinet Secretary the time has come to change the priorities in my life… For these reasons I no longer wish to hold Ministerial office.’

Lochhead told Sturgeon that he is ‘very proud’ of the SNP government’s record and what it has achieved in recent years.

Confirming the news on Twitter, he said: ‘Thank u to great people across Scotland I worked with. Hugely rewarding. Sometimes tough. Always absolute privilege.’

Lochhead will continue to serve as a Member of Scottish Parliament, representing the constituency of Moray.

‘Rich and enduring legacy’

In a letter to Lochhead, obtained by BBC Scotland, Sturgeon wrote of the ‘rich and enduring legacy’ in Lochhead’s policy portfolio.

She wrote: ‘Chief among this is overseeing the world-leading efforts to tackle climate change which we have brought forward, as well as the unprecedented success now being enjoyed by Scotland’s food and drink industry, which is booming in no small part due to the efforts which you have made on the sector’s behalf.

‘I know that you also take personal satisfaction in our steps to clean up our marine environment and the related legislation we have passed in that area.’

Nicola Sturgeon will announce her new cabinet after formally being sworn in as First Minister at the Court of Session this morning (Wednesday). Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights, has also stepped down prior to the new cabinet’s announcement.

Vision and leadership

Responding to Lochhead's resignation, Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “We are privileged to have been able to work alongside Richard Lochhead to help drive Scotland’s progress to a zero waste society.
 
“He has brought an inspiring level of vision and leadership to his nine-year tenure as Cabinet Secretary, and his accomplishments have contributed to Scotland becoming world-renowned in its efforts to drive forward the circular economy agenda. His legacy will live on, for example, in his determination to introduce an EU-first food waste reduction target for Scotland, as well as in the hugely successful carrier bag charge, which has slashed bag use by an astonishing 80 per cent."

 

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