Monday, 12 June 2017

The new Environment Secretary is "determined to protect our precious environment, support our thriving fishing industry and help our globally renowned food and farming industries grow more, sell more and export more great British food and drink."

Over the years, Environment Ministers have had things to say about ... the environment:

Earlier this year the former environment minister Rory Stuart said it was"absurd" that Britain has so many different recycling systems
Futures Forum: Trying to improve the quality of recycled waste

The Government’s environment minister turned out at Croyde to help out at a beach clean. Thérèse Coffey MP offered a helping hand to Surfers Against Sewage’s Big Spring Beach Clean – an annual event to clean up beaches nationwide and encourage more single-use plastic to be recycled.
Futures Forum: What's your plastic footprint? ... What's your nerdle count?

Environment minister Therese Coffey said the Government is developing a new litter strategy which could address the issue of one-use plastic bottles which are not recycled at home.
Futures Forum: Campaign to >>> Bring back bottle deposits to stop plastic pollution in our oceans > gathering pace

Recycling Minister Rory Stewart recently suggested that a charge, like that levied on plastic bags, could be placed on takeaway coffee cups too. But the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) responded saying there are in fact no plans for such a thing.
Futures Forum: Your takeaway coffee cup is not recyclable

Britain should turn swathes of its upland pastures into woodland to help prevent flooding, according to a former environment minister, Lord Rooker. He said new forests would slow flooding by trapping water with their roots.
Futures Forum: Devon County to plant more trees - to help prevent flooding and help wildlife

The Marine Environment Minister, George Eustice, said: "It's vital that we protect our marine environment to ensure our seas remain healthy, our fishing industry remains prosperous, and future generations can enjoy our beautiful beaches."
Futures Forum: Marine Conservation Zones: again, not for Lyme Bay...

Not all previous Ministers have been overly-praised, however:

It also means our ghastly Environment Minister Andrea Leadsom telling the Conservative Party conference how great it is that the UK exports nan bread to India (see Andrea Leadsom: 'We sell naan bread to India' - YouTube)
Futures Forum: Brexit: and challenging the so-twentieth-century model ...

Nowhere, as far as I can discover, in Liz Truss’s speeches or writing before she was appointed, is there any sign of prior interest in the natural world or its protection... She seems determined to dismantle the protections that secure our quality of life: the rules and agencies defending the places and wildlife we love.
Futures Forum: Is the Environment a Public Good? ... or... Do we need 'bureaucracy and regulation' to protect the environment?

The question is open as to how the latest Environment Minister (and how long will he last...) sees his role - and how others see him in this role:
Caroline Lucas dismantles Michael Gove's Environment Secretary appointment - The i newspaper online iNews

Michael Gove as environment secretary is 'fox in charge of hen house'

Appointment greeted with anger by environmental campaigners who lament his record on green issues

Michael Gove
 Michael Gove tried to cut climate change from the geography curriculum while education secretary. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Michael Gove’s appointment as environment secretary is like “putting the fox in charge of the hen house”, according to a colleague who worked alongside him in the coalition government.
Theresa May announced Gove’s return to politics as part of her reshuffle on Sunday. The news was greeted with anger and frustration by environmental campaigners, who lamented his record on green issues, including his attempt to remove climate change from the geography curriculum while education secretary.
Ed Davey, the energy and climate change secretary at the time, said anyone who cared about the environment should be “deeply worried” by Gove’s appointment.
“I didn’t think it could get any worse but putting Michael Gove in charge of the environment is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. It’s bad news.”

Davey said Gove had tried to remove climate change from the geography curriculum in 2013, adding that the new environment secretary also believed key EU rules – protecting anything from wildlife to air pollution – should be discarded.
“There are huge issues coming down the line – from climate change to air pollution – and it makes me deeply concerned that he is in this position.”
Caroline Lucas, the Green party co-leader and MP, echoed those concerns. She said it was hard to “think of many politicians as ill-equipped for the role of environment secretary as Michael Gove”.
“His record of voting against measures to halt climate change and his attempt to wipe the subject from our children’s curriculum show him entirely unfit to lead our country in tackling one of the greatest threats we face,” she added.
“This appointment is further evidence of both Theresa May’s complete disregard for the environment and her desperation to hold together a government in chaos.”
Jon Sauven, the Greenpeace chief executive, said Gove would have to act fast to prove “he is better than his record suggests”.
“Michael Gove is about to find an in-tray loaded with urgent problems, from tackling the air pollution crisis to reforming our broken farm subsidy system and protecting our oceans from overfishing and plastic waste. He should move swiftly to prove that he’s better than his record suggests,” said Sauven.
As education secretary Gove tried to remove climate change from the geography curriculum saying it should be taught in science. He was forced to drop the plans after Davey, environmentalists, and teachers argued the omission would downgrade the topic and make its existence a matter of greater dispute.
This year Gove underlined his opposition to key elements of EU environmental legislation, saying Brexit could allow Britain to scrap “absurd” rules such as the European commission’s habitats directive and clinical trials directive.
Lucas said: “As we enter Brexit negotiations, Gove’s past suggestion we scrap vital EU environmental protections becomes ever more concerning.”
During an event in 2014, Gove said “man and his activities clearly have an influence on the climate”, adding the government must “take appropriate steps to deal with it ... guided by the science and we need to make sure that we’re hard headed but realistic”.
He added: “I think it’s important, too, that we recognise that climate change has had an impact on societies in the past as well.”
He said that the environmental agenda had been captured “by people who want to use the genuine dangers ... as a way of providing a new rationale for greater state power and centralisation”, but he argued environmentalism was in reality a “core Conservative instinct”.
Friends of the Earth said Gove’s record would rankle with young voters who had turned out in huge numbers during last week’s election.
“Young people, who voted in droves at the general election, care passionately about climate change and the state of the environment,” said Dave Timms, a senior FoE campaigner. “The prime minister and Mr Gove can choose to listen to their voices, or ignore them at their own cost.”
One of the first challenges Gove will face is an attempt to defend the government’s air quality plans in the high court. It is the third court appearance for ministers after their previous plans to clean up the UK’s toxic air were deemed so poor as to be illegal.
Client Earth, which is bringing the case, said Gove had a “career defining opportunity” to be the politician who cleaned up the UK’s air.
Gove was a leading Brexit campaigner and is a close associate of Rupert Murdoch. On Monday Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, wrote to May to ask whether the media tycoon had lobbied to get him back on the frontbench. 

In a statement Gove said it was an honour to be appointed environment secretary.
“As we leave the European Union, I am determined to protect our precious environment, support our thriving fishing industry and help our globally renowned food and farming industries grow more, sell more and export more great British food and drink.”

Michael Gove as environment secretary is 'fox in charge of hen house' | Politics | The Guardian

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