Updated: Spelman shuffled out of Defra

4th September 2012

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Central government



Former Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson replaces Caroline Spelman as environment secretary following David Cameron's first major reshuffle of the cabinet

The Conservative MP for Northern Shropshire is confirmed as the new environment secretary by Defra as news of the prime minister’s new cabinet emerged from Number 10.

Paterson, a former president of the European Tanners’ Confederation, managed his family’s leather business before becoming an MP in 1997.

In opposition he was a spokesperson on agriculture and transport before being appointed as shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland, a post he has held since the coalition came to power.

Former chancellor Lord Lawson, a leading climate change sceptic, welcomed Paterson’s appointment, telling Sky News that, while he was not particularly well now, Paterson is “one of the most able and promising young men or women around the cabinet … he is a man of reason and sense.”

The UK’s waste industry body, the Environmental Services Association (ESA), has already called on the new environment secretary to take action to reform public procurement processes to drive demand for more recycled content in products and to push for new tax policies that will help the application of the waste hierarchy.

Spelman, who has headed up the environment department since the general election and came under fire after the government backtracked on selling state-owned woodland, has not been appointed to another government role.

Cameron’s reshuffle has also seen Justine Greening moved from her role as transport secretary to a lower profile role as international development secretary. Cameron’s decision to move Greening has been taken as a sign by Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith and London Mayor Boris Johnson, as well as environmental campaigning group Friends of the Earth that the government is considering going back on its pledge not to build a third runway at Heathrow.

“[Greening has] been shunted out of her transport job because of her opposition to a third runway at Heathrow,” argued Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth’s executive director.

The Mayor of London agreed. “There can be only one reason to move her – and that is to expand Heathrow airport,” he said.

In another unexpected move Charles Hendry was demoted to the back benches and replaced as energy minister by fellow Tory John Hayes, who has moved from his role as minister for skills at the business department.

On assuming his new post Hayes released a statement saying he was proud be taking on the role at "such a crucial time both for our energy security and for tackling climate change".

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome, David Heath, replaces Paice as farming minister, while Lord de Mauley becomes the new parliamentary under secretary of state. Also at DECC, Baroness Verma takes over from Lord Marland.

In another change, Chloe Smith, who had been responsible for energy and environment policy at the Treasury, has moved to the Cabinet Office.

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has also reshuffled his cabinet, with Stewart Stevenson stepping down as minister for environment and climate change, to be replaced by Paul Wheelhouse.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Four in five shoppers willing to pay ‘sustainability premium’

Despite cost-of-living concerns, four-fifths of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably produced or sourced goods, a global survey has found.

16th May 2024

Read more

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Each person in the UK throws a shocking 35 items of unwanted clothes and textiles into general waste every year on average, according to a new report from WRAP.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close