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Bioenergy industry, meet your new Cabinet

On the 4th September, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced his first major cabinet reshuffle. Here NNFCC looks at the changes affecting the bioenergy and biofuels industries.

Date Posted 05 Sep 2012
Story Source Dr Matthew Aylott, NNFCC
Relevant Industries Bioenergy Biofuels Feedstocks

Houses of ParliamentDepartment of Energy and Climate Change

Charles Hendry is replaced by John Hayes as Minister of State at Department of Energy and Climate Change. Conservative MP for South Holland and the Deepings John Hayes was elected to parliament in 1997.

Some in the media have suggested his appointment could cause concern among renewable energy firms due to his opposition to wind farms in his constituency, having previously described wind turbines as a "terrible intrusion on our flat fenland landscape". However, he is also described as an innovator and has been praised for his commitment to education, particularly in his former role as Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Caroline Spelman is replaced by Owen Paterson as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Owen Paterson is Conservative MP for North Shropshire and was elected to parliament in 1997 – he was previously Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

He has previously spoken out against energy subsidies and offered his backing for greater shale gas exploitation. Paterson has also spoken out against wind farms and the new pylons needed to carry their power to the national grid in his Shropshire constituency. He lists trees as an interest on his website and has a track record of campaigning for the dairy and fishing industries.

Jim Paice is replaced by David Heath as Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. David Heath is Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome and was elected to parliament in 1997. He served as Liberal Democrat agriculture, fisheries and food spokesman during the late 1990s and he has also worked as a parliamentary consultant for WWF.

During the early 2000s he served on a range of committees including the science & technology committee and the standards & privileges committee. He replaces the popular Jim Paice and faces challenging issues such as the proposed badger cull to alleviate tuberculosis, creating better conditions for farmers and developing a response to expected food price hikes.

Department for Transport

Justine Greening is replaced by Patrick McLoughlin as Secretary of State for Transport. Conservative MP Patrick McLoughlin has been a Member of Parliament since 1986, initially for West Derbyshire and since 2010 for its successor, the Derbyshire Dales constituency. He has served in numerous roles including as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Transport from 1989 to 1992 and most recently as Chief Whip.

McLoughlin is said to have an “open mind” about a third runway at Heathrow – something Justine Greening opposed. McLoughlin is also said to have a fear of flying – a fact not missed by the media.

Theresa Villiers is replaced by Simon Burns as Minister of State for Transport. Simon Burns is Conservative Party MP for Chelmsford and was elected to the position in 1987. He was formerly Health Minister and oversaw a major programme of cost cutting in the NHS.

He will help oversee the plans for HST2 and expansion of Britain’s aviation capacity, although he has previously said the idea of a third runway at Heathrow would be "environmental vandalism". Theresa Villiers has been made the new Northern Ireland Secretary.

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