Resource Use

Rogerson becomes joint bioeconomy ‘Champion’

Rogerson becomes joint bioeconomy ‘Champion’

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced that Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Water, Forestry, Rural Affairs and Resource Management, Dan Rogerson, is now jointly sharing the role of ‘Ministerial Champion for the Bioeconomy’ alongside Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, and Minister of State for Energy, Matthew Hancock MP.

In June 2014, central government announced that it was appointing BIS Secretary of State Michael Fallon to the role of cross-Whitehall Ministerial Champion for the Bioeconomy (who was replaced by Hancock in the ministerial shake-up in July 2014), following calls from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee (STC) for such a role to be created.

Indeeed, in its March 2014 report, ‘Waste or resource? Stimulating a bioeconomy’, the STC suggested that the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) rather than Defra should create a new role for a minister who is responsible for the development of a ‘waste-based, high-value bioeconomy’. (This echoed calls made by a group of Conservative MPs, 2020C, who argued that BIS should be given responsibility for government’s waste portfolio to help ‘redefine waste’ and make sure it’s seen as a business ‘opportunity, not a liability’.)

This new minister, STC argued, should be a ‘champion for waste as a resource and should coordinate activities across government’. It also outlined that the champion should ensure that a long-term plan, with ‘at least a 15-year horizon’, is produced by ‘early 2015’ to support the development of a ‘high value waste-based bioeconomy’.

Speaking at the time, Chair of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Lord Krebs said: “We are calling on the government to create a waste champion, a minister who can coordinate action and policy across different departments so this chance is not missed. The waste champion should not only ensure that the UK has the ideal environment for a waste bioeconomy to flourish, but also come up with a long-term vision to maintain it.”

Joint role will ‘better encompass the waste-based elements across departmental agendas’

However, on Tuesday (9 December), Defra announced that this Ministerial Champion role will now be jointly shared with Dan Rogerson to ‘help the government to better encompass the waste-based elements across departmental agendas and deliver a truly cross-Whitehall vision and action plan for developing a bioeconomy, bringing varying expertise and balancing differing priorities’.

It added that a working group has been established to support both ministers in developing the long-term plan, otherwise known as the roadmap.

Rogerson has not yet issued a statement regarding his appointment to the role.

Find out more about the reasons for needing a Ministerial Champion for the Bioeconomy.

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