Therese Coffey is to retain her post within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) the government has confirmed today (14 June).
Dr Coffey who was re-elected as the Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal at last week’s General Election, will continue in the Department alongside George Eustice, MP for Camborne and Redruth, and Lord Gardiner of Kimble, both of whom had served within Defra prior to the election.
All three junior ministers will be led by the former Education Secretary Michael Gove, who was appointed Secretary of State for the Environment as part of a post-election reshuffle, which saw Andrea Leadsom appointed Leader of the House of Commons (see airqualitynews.com story).
Dr Coffey has been the minister responsible for the air quality portfolio since her appointment to the Department last summer, as well as holding responsibility for work on the natural environment, floods and resource management.
At present it has not been confirmed whether the ministerial portfolios will remain unchanged following the reshuffle, and a spokesperson for the Department has told airqualitynews.com that this is likely to be confirmed later in the week.
Delighted to be continuing as Environment Minister
— Therese Coffey (@theresecoffey) June 13, 2017
Should Dr Coffey retain the air quality brief it is likely to be among the areas for urgen action with a final version of the government’s plan on reducing nitrogen dioxide in towns and cities due to be delivered by 31 July.
Among the key decisions to be taken is whether to incentivise drivers to move away from using diesel vehicles, with a consultation on the plan having asked for views on the potential for the implementation of a diesel scrappage scheme.
There is also a looming threat of a further challenge over the government’s air quality proposals from the legal campaign group ClientEarth, with a High Court hearing expected before the end of July (see airqualitynews.com story).