Conservative peer Lord Henley has been given the portfolio for recycling and waste management in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Lord Henley (known as Oliver Eden before his peerage) was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Yesterday, but was only given his portfolio this morning.
Henley’s wide ranging brief will include: Environmental regulation, local and regional government, sustainable development, biofuels and waste and recycling.
Lord Henley was appointed alongside fellow Conservative Richard Benyon MP, who will be responsible for the natural environment, ecosystems and land management aspects of the DEFRA remit.
Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) chief executive Steve Lee welcomed the new appointment, he said: “Waste is at a critical point in its evolution - becoming resources management, CWIM will do whatever it can to help him..”
Lee commented that the appointments of Henley, Benyon, Secretary of State Caroline Spelman and Minister of State Jim Paice represent a “very strongly agricultural team at DEFRA” and that Henley will face a “steep learning curve”.
However, he added that this was not necessarily a disadvantage: “We’ve had ministers before who have come in with no waste or recycling background and it hasn’t stopped them from doing a good job, so it’s what he does that counts and we’ll do whatever we can to help him and the people around him to get up to speed. It’s a critical time.”
The appointment of a solely Conservative body of ministers appears to leave notable Liberal Democrats Simon Hughes and Tim Farron (both Energy and Environment Shadow Secretaries respectively) without portfolio.
Lee said of the lack of Liberal Democrat presence: “Clearly it’s a coalition government and there’s only room for a certain number of Lib-Dems in certain positions.”