The newly appointed Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers, looks to have opened the door for engagement with the sector over key policy work, including the Resources and Waste Strategy.
Ms Villiers was confirmed as the appointment to the top job at Defra on Wednesday evening replacing the outgoing Michael Gove, who has accepted the role of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Mr Gove’s departure had prompted concerns that momentum on environmental policy areas may cool – with Gove having been credited for bringing a drive in policy development to the Department.
In particular, Mr Gove was praised for his open discussions with industry which lead to the development of the Resources and Waste Strategy.
However, early signs from the new Environment Secretary suggest that the Defra door will continue to be open with Ms Villiers having reached out to industry in her initial comments since her appointment.
In a statement to letsrecycle.com, she said: “I feel honoured to have been asked by the Prime Minister to take on the role of Secretary of State for Defra.
“The issues this department deals with are incredibly important and I have championed a number of them, including air quality and animal welfare.
“In the coming weeks I look forward to meeting key stakeholders in the food, farming, fishing and environmental sectors. By working together we can deliver the government’s historic commitment to leave the environment in a better state than we found it and to seize the opportunities offered by Brexit.”
Resources and Waste Strategy
“By working together we can deliver the government’s historic commitment to leave the environment in a better state than we found it and to seize the opportunities offered by Brexit.”
Waste and resources looks to be one of the first portfolio areas that the Environment Secretary has sunk her teeth into having faced questions from MPs yesterday on issues relating to the Strategy yesterday morning, just hours after her appointment (see letsrecycle.com story).
Responding to questions on plastic waste in Parliament yesterday, she said: “The Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to eliminate avoidable plastic waste, including measures to tackle certain single-use plastic items.
“This week we published government responses to consultations on measures that include making recycling easier and ensuring that producers pay the full cost of managing their packaging waste responsibly.”