Gordon Brown recently undertook an in-depth reshuffle of his Ministerial and junior Ministerial team. Some of these important changes include the news that:
– Hilary Benn has kept his position as Secretary of State for defra.
– Ed Miliband moves to head a brand new Energy and Climate Change Department.
– Joan Ruddock transfers from defra and into the Energy and Climate Change portfolio.
– Jane Kennedy joins defra as Minister of State, responsible for issues including farming and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
– Lord Hunt of Kings Heath will be a Minister of State both at defra and Energy and Climate Change in an attempt to guarantee close co-operation between the departments.
– Huw Irranca-Davies, a former Minister in the Wales Office, arrives at defra.
– Malcolm Wicks is now working as an advisor to the Prime Minister on international energy.
– Mark Lazarowicz will advise the Prime Minister on carbon trading.
– Parmjit Dhanda, who spoke so passionately at our Ancient Tree reception this year, leaves the Department for Communities & Local Government to return to the backbenches.
The Trust welcomes the creation of the Climate Change and Energy portfolio – this new department should guarantee greater focus of action across all government departments, which will be particularly important when the Climate Change Bill receives Royal Assent and the commitments held within it become legally binding.
For too long defra was a lone voice in championing actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We hope that in creating this new Department, Government does not become distracted from the vital need to adapt to climate change. Policy must offer both people and wildlife the best opportunities to adapt and where necessary move to more suitable conditions. Trees and woodland are crucial in an adaptation strategy as they provide habitat, support flood alleviation, and improve air and water quality.
Let’s hope that these reorganisations allow Government to play their vital role in delivering a sustainable future for all of us.