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Praise as Gove and Coffey stay put

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The retention of the existing Defra team of ministers after the latest reshuffle has been welcomed in the industry.

Following prime minister Theresa May’s reshuffle, Michael Gove remains as environment secretary. He marked his continuing role with a written Parliamentary statement on the implication of Chinese restrictions on imports of secondary materials and a proposed extension of the 5p plastic charge in England to smaller shops and businesses.

The measures are to be unveiled as part of the much-delayed 25-year environment plan, which is expected to be published tomorrow.

Resource minister Therese Coffey also retains her post. During her second year in the role she has issued warmer sentiments towards the EU’s circular economy package, as well as backing a drive for greater consistency in local authority household waste collections.

An early comment on the Defra status quo came from Suez chief executive David Palmer-Jones, who said it was reassuring to have stability in the leadership of “this vital department”.

“This consistency of leadership at Defra is very much welcomed, and is crucial if the UK wants to stand any chance of being a future leader in resource-efficiency, sustainability and environmental protection. We have seen recycling and environmental themes capture the attention of the public and policy-makers in recent months and it is important that this momentum is maintained, not squandered.”

He said a “ministerial merry-go-round” at Defra in previous years had resulted in ministers spending their short tenure learning their brief rather than making policy.

“In Michael Gove and Therese Coffey we have informed, highly proficient leaders who seem to grasp the potential of the resource management sector, and we are glad to be able to continue working with them to help create a more sustainable UK.”

Colin Church, chief executive of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and a former senior Defra official responsible for waste, tweeted: “Congratulations to Dr Coffey. All the Defra team reappointed – good news for the emerging sense of direction! And when did that last happen in a reshuffle…?!”

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