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Further delays at Defra in allocation of air quality duties

A further delay in the allocation of duties among Defra ministers is expected following the departure of Lord de Mauley from the Environment Department

A further delay in the allocation of duties among Defra ministers is expected following the departure of Lord de Mauley from the Environment Department.

Lord de Mauley was formerly the air quality minister at Defra from 2012-2013

Lord de Mauley was formerly the air quality minister at Defra from 2012-2013

Lord de Mauley stepped down yesterday (May 19) from his post as parliamentary under secretary of state for natural environment and science. He also had responsibility for all activities of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) – including air quality – in the House of Lords.

Previously, Lord de Mauley held responsibility for air quality between 2012 and 2013 in his first ministerial role, having first entered the House of Lords in 2002 (see AirQualityNews.com story). He was the first peer to obtain an elective hereditaries’ seat in the House, after winning a Conservative hereditary peer’s election in 2005.

A statement is expected soon about the appointment of a new Lord to the Department.

Prior to the General Election, Liberal Democrat Dan Rogerson had responsibility for air quality. He lost his seat on May 7 and with the return of the majority Conservative government, Secretary of State Liz Truss stayed in post, as did minister George Eustice (see AirQualityNews.com story).

Rory Stewart – MP for Cumbria and The Border – was appointed as a new junior minister to the Department, taking up the number three position previously held by Dan Rogerson. The fourth member of the Defra ministerial line-up after the election was Lord de Mauley.

However, last week no duties were allocated and Mr Stewart has confirmed that decisions on individual responsibilities were likely to be made this week.

As soon as air quality responsibilities are allocated within the Department, the post-holder is likely to be besieged by comments from campaigners in wake of the Supreme Court ruling last month that Defra must produce a new UK air quality plan before the end of 2015. The new air quality minister will likely oversee this process.

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