Recycling minister Lord Taylor leaves Defra

7 September 2012

By Caelia Quinault 

Lord Taylor of Holbeach has praised the waste industry after leaving his post as recycling minister at Defra as part of the cabinet reshufle.

Recycling minister Lord Taylor has left his role at Defra after a year
Recycling minister Lord Taylor has left his role at Defra after a year

The minister, who has been parliamentary under secretary of state at Defra since September 2011 and is well regarded by the waste sector, has been promoted to a new ministerial role within the Home Office. 

The move comes after Caroline Spelman was replaced as secretary of state at Defra by former Northern Ireland secretary, Owen Paterson, earlier this week (see story).

In Lord Taylor's place, Lord de Mauley has been appointed as parliamentary under secretary of state at Defra. He joins new minister for state, David Heath MP, and Richard Benyon, who retains his ministerial role within the Department.

However, Defra was unable to reveal which of the new ministers will inherit the waste and recycling brief. 

A Defra spokesperson said: “We don’t know who will take on the various portfolios at the moment. We will expect to be able to confirm that in the next few days.”


Speaking to, Lord Taylor said that he would miss working with the waste industry, which he described as a 'lively' and 'vibrant' sector.

Lord de Mauley has joined Defra in the cabinet reshuffle
Lord de Mauley has joined Defra in the cabinet reshuffle

He commented: "My new job in the Home Office is a terrific opportunity and I am really pleased to have this chance but I will certainly miss my role at Defra. The waste industry is a very lively sector of the economy and I have very much enjoyed meeting and working with the industry, which is such a vibrant part of our economy. I will miss the individuals and I am sure I will still get to a MRF!".

Some senior figures from the waste industry have already expressed their regret at seeing Lord Taylor go. As a past chair of the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group, which brings the waste industry and politicians together, he had a good knowledge of the industry and a genuine interest in the sector.

CIWM chief executive Steve Lee said: "Sorry to see Lord Taylor go as waste minister - seemd pretty genuine. Not yet known who is taking over or if same remit. Let's wait and see..."

De Mauley

Lord de Mauley, whose family has a farming background, has been a government whip in the Lords since 2010, as well as being government spokesman on environment, food and rural affairs issues. In opposition, he held a number of briefs, including serving as Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Educated at Eton, he joined the Territorial Army in 1976, rising to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in 2003. He retired from the TA in 2005. He is married to Lucinda, and lives in West Oxfordshire.

David Heath, meanwhile, has been the MP for Somerton and Frome, a rural constituency and important dairy farming area, since 1997. Before this he served as Leader of Somerset county council.

David Heath joined Defra earlier this week
David Heath joined Defra earlier this week

In Parliament, he has held a number of front-bench positions, including acting as spokesperson for agriculture, fisheries and food and as a spokesperson for work and pensions. He has also served on the Science and Technology Select Committee. Until his appointment as minister, he served as deputy leader of the house.

Lord Taylor

Lord Taylor was appointed as under parliamentary secretary of state at Defra in September 2011, in place of Lord Henley (see story).

Earlier this summer, he told that “waste and recycling gets a lot of my time. When people ask what I do I say waste first because it is a very big area” (see story).