BEIS and Defra finalise ministerial remits

1st September 2016

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Julie Winnard

Ministerial portfolios have been confirmed at the new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), with Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner MP Nick Hurd given responsibility for climate change.

Hurd’s remit covers carbon budgets; international climate change, including funds to help developing countries adapt; climate science and innovation; the green economy, including the Green Investment Bank; and manufacturing and materials.

In February, Hurd was named parliamentarian of the year in the Green Ribbon awards, run by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. In David Cameron’s government, Hurd was a minister in the international development department where his portfolio included climate and environment. He headed up the department’s Energy Africa campaign, which aimed to achieve universal energy access on the continent by 2030.

He has also been a member of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee and led work on climate change for the Conservative Party’s policy group on quality of life. He served on the climate change bill committee, was a member of the Globe International parliamentary network for climate change and sponsored the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 as a private members bill. He voted in favour of remaining in the EU.

Baroness Neville-Rolf has been given the portfolio for energy. This covers nuclear power; oil and gas; low-carbon generation; security of supply; energy efficiency and heat; smart metering; and international energy. She was previously a minister in the business department and director of corporate affairs at retailer Tesco. Between 1973 and 1992 she was a civil servant at the ministry for agriculture, fisheries and food.

Jesse Norman will support Hurd and Neville-Rolf at BEIS. The Hereford and South Herefordshire MP has been appointed Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Industry, with particular responsibility for nuclear, oil and gas and infrastructure and construction. Meanwhile, the responsibilities of BEIS under-secretary, Margot James, MP for Stourbridge, include corporate responsibility and governance.

At the environment department (Defra), new pro-Brexit secretary of state Andrea Leadsom will be supported by George Eustice, who retained his ministerial position. Eustice, who also voted to leave the EU, has been given responsibility for food and farming, including the Common Agricultural Policy, fisheries, better regulation and science and innovation. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment Thérèse Coffey’s remit takes in the natural environment, including biodiversity, the marine environment, and international wildlife trafficking, floods, water and waterways, air quality and waste management. She was parliamentary private secretary to former business and energy minister Michael Fallon when he was responsible for transposing the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive.

The Defra team is completed by Lord Gardiner. His responsibilities include climate change adaptation.

In his first speech as energy and climate secretary, Greg Clark spoke at the Royal Society in London about the importance of science and innovation. He noted that the UK’s climate change commitments had driven the growth of the renewables sector, including the £1bn Siemens investment in Hull. In his first month in office, Clark approved the 1.8GW Hornsea Two offshore windfarm and a 17.4 km overhead electricity line in north Wales to allow wind farms to connect to the grid. He said offshore wind would play a fundamental part in building a clean, affordable, secure energy system in the UK.

Nick Hurd – climate innovation, carbon budgets and the GIB

Baroness Neville-Rolf – nuclear power and low-carbon generation

Jesse Norman – infrastructure, nuclear, and oil and gas

Thérèse Coffey – biodiversity, floods, air quality and waste


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