Defra has confirmed that Rory Stewart’s responsibilities in the new government will include the waste and recycling brief.
Mr Stewart, who sits as MP for Penrith and The Border, was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the department following the general election in May (see letsrecycle.com story).
He is one of three ministers charged with overseeing policy at Defra – the Department for Environment. Food and Rural Affairs – alongside George Eustice, minister of state for farming, food and the marine environment, and Secretary of State for Environment Liz Truss.
The department’s confirmation comes almost four weeks after the general election – and narrowly ahead of the first Prime Minister’s Questions of the new term.
Mr Stewart succeeds former MP Dan Rogerson, who handled the waste and recycling brief in the final months of the coalition government.
Mr Rogerson, who lost his seat his North Cornwall seat last month, initially faced criticism from the waste industry after writing that the government would be scaling back its activities in the sector (see letsrecycle.com story).
Now it looks as though the sector may well find it continues to face a relatively low level of involvement because of Mr Stewart’s wide range of responsibilities.
These include the lead responsibility for the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Forestry Commission, the natural environment, floods and water, environmental management, rural affairs.
And, his appointment as deputy to Liz Truss on the European Union’s environment council of ministers means that he is likely to be close to thinking on the circular economy package which is being developed by the European Commission.