28 August 2019 by Lucy Pegg

Recycling role remains unfilled at Defra

Defra is yet to announce which minister will oversee waste and recycling policy, more than a month after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s reshuffle.

Therese Coffey and George Eustice were named as Ministers of State on 26 July at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs after the appointment of Theresa Villiers as Environment Secretary. However, no official confirmation of Dr Coffey and Mr Eustice’s official roles has been offered.

Defra’s top ministerial team – the Department has yet to confirm who will lead recycling and waste policy

The ministerial team was joined in July by junior ministers Zac Goldsmith, in a split role with the Department for International Development covering animal welfare and international forestry. And, Lord Gardiner of Kimble, remained as the Defra representative in the House of Lords.

Dr Coffey had overseen waste and recycling policy as Under Secretary of State, since her initial appointment to the Department in 2016.

She was involved in shaping the Resources and Waste Strategy which was released in December 2018 – and is seen to be the strong favourite to manage the waste brief going forward. Her other responsibilities included handling policy work related to air pollution, as well as floods, water and waterways.

Mr Eustice served as Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at Defra from 2015 until February this year. He resigned his post in protest at Theresa May’s decision to allow MPs a vote on delaying Brexit if her deal was rejected by the House of Commons, but has returned to the Department since Boris Johnson’s appointment as Prime Minister.

Announcement expected

Inquiries by letsrecycle.com had indicated that the roles of both ministers, including who would manage the waste and resources brief, were expected to have been confirmed by the end of last week.

However, this has still yet to have been completed – despite the Department insisting that the full portfolios for each of the ministers will be announced shortly.

Continuity within the Department is seen as being important by many in the waste and recycling sectors, in order to maintain momentum built up through the Resources and Waste Strategy (see letsrecycle.com story).

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