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Defra appoints waste minister

New Defra junior minister Lord de Mauley will replace Lord Taylor as minister responsible for waste, the department has announced.

The news comes eleven days after Lord Taylor was moved from Defra to the Home Office as part of a Government reshuffle which also saw Caroline Spelman replaced by Owen Paterson as environment secretary.

De Mauley was appointed Defra parliamentary under secretary of state on 6 September but it has taken until now for the department to announce which briefs ministers will hold following the reshuffle. 

As resource management minister, De Mauley will also take responsibility for sustainable consumption and production, environmental regulation and climate change adaptation.

Rupert Ponsonby, the 7th Baron de Mauley, is a Conservative whip who has been a Government spokesman on various briefs including environmental issues. His entry in the House register of members’ interests includes farmland and property in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

A Defra spokesman said the delay in announcing ministerial responsibility was “normal” and that the addition of Liberal Democrat David Health to the department had not led to negotiations on briefs being any more protracted than usual.  

He told MRW: “It just takes time for them to sit down and properly consider the portfolios.

“They’ve only been in job less than two weeks so it just takes time to consider it properly.”

He added that the use of wording “resource management” was to emphasise the department’s focus on economic growth – although he stressed this did not mean the department would be any left focused on its environmental agenda.  

The Environmental Services Association’s director general, Barry Dennis said: “ESA had a good relationship with Lord de Mauley’s predecessor, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, and we will be looking forward to working with the new minister. 

“We hope Lord de Mauley will be given enough time in the role to make real contribution to our collective efforts to create a resource efficient society.”

Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson said: “We were sorry to see Lord Taylor leave after such a short time in office, and look forward to welcoming Lord de Mauley to his new brief in Government.

“When he has a chance to sift through his in-tray, we hope that he will make material quality and support for UK reprocessors making quality recycled products top of his agenda.”

For more on the implications of the reshuffle read here: Defra’s revolving door leaves waste sector facing policy hiatus

Defra’s ministerial team in full:

Owen Paterson MP (Con). Secretary of State.

Portfolio: strategy and overall policy; budget; legislative programme; emergencies; international relations; Environment Agency and Natural England.

Biography: MP for North Shropshire since 1997 and secretary of state for Northern Ireland from May 2010. In opposition he was shadow agricultural whip and shadow minister for agriculture. His interests include horses, architecture, trees and history.

David Heath MP (Lib Dem). Minister of State for Agriculture and Food.

Portfolio: farming and food, including Common Agricultural Policy, Single Payments Scheme and the Rural Payments Agency, climate change mitigation in agriculture, agricultural wages and Rural Development Programme for England (joint with Benyon); animal health; forestry.

Biography: MP for Somerton and Frome since 1997. Previously leader of Somerset County Council and parliamentary consultant for the World Wide Fund for Nature. A former front bench spokesman on agriculture, fisheries and food.

Richard Benyon MP (Con). Parliamentary under-secretary for natural environment, water and rural affairs.

Portfolio: Natural Environment, including biodiversity, land management, national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty and wildlife management; water and marine, including flooding and coastal erosion, inland waterways, water reource management and quality, fisheries and marine environment; rural affairs, including economic development, countryside and rights of way and Rural Development Programme for England (joint with David Heath); handles waste in the Commons.

Biography: MP for Newbury since May 2005 and a Defra minister since 2010. Previously a shadow environment minister. He has also served on the Home Affairs Select Committee. He is a farmer and former soldier.

Lord de Mauley (Con). Parliamentary under-secretary for resource management, the local environment and environmental science.

Portfolio: Resource management, including waste, environmental regulation, impacts and mitigation of climate change and sustainable consumption; local environment, including air quality, litter, animal welfare and localism; science and research, including environmental science, nanotechnology, industrial pollution, GMOs and the Food and Environment Research Agency.

Biography: A Conservative whip, he has also been a Government spokesman on environment issues. He owns farmland and property in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Served in the Territorial Army and lists areas of interest as south east Asia, China and Europe.

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