Steve Barclay appointed Environment Secretary

Former Health Secretary Steve Barclay has been confirmed as the new Environment Secretary, replacing Thérèse Coffey.

The Member of Parliament for North East Cambridgeshire from the Conservative Party is being shifted from his current position as Health Secretary to the role of Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as a part of a cabinet reshuffle.

Barclay also replaced Thérèse Coffey as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care when she became the Environment Secretary in October 2022. He becomes the fifth Environment Secretary in four years after Coffey’s resignation this week.

Thérèse Coffey confirmed her stepping down from the position through a letter posted on X, formerly Twitter after speculation arose when she was seen entering 10 Downing Street.

Writing on X, Coffey said: “I have written to the Prime Minister today to step down from government. It has been a privilege to serve him and five Conservative Prime Ministers as a minister. I look forward to continuing to serve my constituents of Suffolk Coastal.”

In a letter, Rishi Sunak thanked Coffey for “years of dedicated ministerial service and your friendship to me personally.”

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) has welcomed Steve Barclay as the new Defra Secretary and expressed its eagerness to develop a strong working relationship with him. The organisation hopes to support the UK economy in achieving the 2050 net zero target and hasten the development of a more circular economy.

Lee Marshall, Policy & External Affairs Director, commented: “CIWM applauds recent progress made by the UK Government with the release of the ‘Simpler Recycling’, digital waste tracking and carriers, brokers and dealers reforms.

“Alongside packaging EPR (extended producer responsibility), these changes will set the policy context for household and commercial waste management for the next decade and beyond, so it is vital that the new secretary maintains recent momentum on the resources and waste part of their brief.

“There are still key aspects of the reforms that require more detail in order to drive change and unlock investment from the sector.”

CIWM believes the EPR Scheme Administrator formation, statutory guidance on ‘Simpler Recycling’, and digital waste tracking reforms are just some of the items that should be at the top of his agenda.

The UK Government has previously committed to further EPR reforms on other waste streams such as textiles, WEEE and batteries. CIWM urges the new Secretary of State to get his department working and consulting on these areas as soon as possible.

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