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Leading Eurosceptic is new head at Defra

michael gove speaking at policy exchange (2015)

Michael Gove, a key campaigner in the Brexit vote and a long-time proponent of cutting business regulations, has been appointed environment secretary.

Gove, who was a cabinet minister in the coalition Government, takes over from Andrea Leadsom as EU member states finalise the details of the circular economy (CE) package.

Speaking at the launch of the Conservative Environment Network in 2014, he described himself as a “shy green”.

In March this year he spoke on cutting back on EU environmental regulations under the Habitats Directive.

Gove is a former journalist who prided himself on reporting on issues such as “EU corruption in Brussels” and “the threat to small businesses from red tape”.

He is also a former chairman of the Policy Exchange, which recently released a report backed by FCC Environment arguing against the UK signing up to the CE package following Brexit.

Gove became an MP in 2005. Although he does not have much of a track record of focusing on waste and recycling issues, in 2007 he asked a question in the House of Commons on WRAP’s payment to the Eunomia consultancy as well as on Defra’s research into alternate weekly residual household collections.

When he was education secretary in 2013, Gove was criticised for his plans to downgrade climate change in the new national curriculum for schools– meaning pupils would not receive as much teaching on recycling.

In 2007 he opposed a plan to set up a single waste authority in London.

It is not known yet whether Therese Coffey will retain her position as resources minister.

Greg Clark has been reappointed as business secretary, in a move backed by Incpen chief executive Paul Vanston, who said on social media it was “helpful news” that the Government could continue with its industrial strategy.

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