Utility Week

Utility Week 23 06 17

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UTILITY WEEK | 23RD - 29TH JUNE 2017 | 13 Policy & Regulation The return of Michael Gove The return of Michael Gove to the front bench as envi- ronment secretary was the major reshuffle surprise for utilities. Theresa May's erstwhile leadership rival was uncer- emoniously sacked from his post as justice secretary last year following the Brexit vote. The new Defra head lost a lot of party friends thanks to his betrayal of fel- low leave campaigner Boris Johnson in the wake of the referendum. If Gove hopes for a fresh start and a warm welcome in his new post, he may be disappointed. His voting history and track record on environmental issues has le many green groups aghast at his appointment. Critics say Gove has tended to vote against measures aimed at tackling climate change, protecting wildlife or reducing emissions. They were also quick to resurrect allegations that he attempted to remove climate change from the geography syllabus in 2013 when he was educa- tion secretary. Gove was forced to climb down on that one, but defended his intentions by saying that climate change would always have been retained on the science curric- ulum. His aim was to slim down the syllabus, not pour doubt on the man-made climate change and its threats, he insisted. Reiterating the new environment secretary's posi- tions, a Defra spokesperson said: "The secretary of state wanted to enhance climate change in the national cur- riculum when he was education secretary. It was never his intention to remove it." In 2014, Gove described himself as a "shy green", adding: "One of the things that I've learnt through- out my life is that I'm an environmental- ist but a lot of time I didn't realise it." More self-aware envi- ronmentalists will want swi proof that Gove has cast off his bashfulness on green issues. New minister at BEIS: Richard Harrington Richard Harrington, MP for Watford, has also been named on the junior ministerial team at BEIS. His responsibilities have not yet been announced, but he is set to replace former energy minister Nick Hurd who has le for the Home Office. Harrington has previous served at the Home Office, the Department for Communities and Local Govern- ment, and the Department for International Development. "He is very good news on green issues. He listens very carefully to Zac Goldsmith and gave an excellent speech to the Conservative Environment Network while still at Justice." Greg Barker former climate change minister "I can think of few people less fit for the role of environment secretary. He has consistently voted against measures to tackle climate change and infamously tried to remove the issue from the national curriculum when he was education secretary." Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP "Interesting Defra choice from May: Gove voted to sell off our forests." Sue Hayman, shadow environment secretary "Appointing Michael Gove as environment secretary is like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop." Ed Davey MP, former energy secretary and cabinet colleague "Gove is not necessarily bad at all. He has a vision – it's just that he hasn't expressed this very much in relation to environment." Laura Sandys, energy consultant and former Conservative MP What others say about Michael Gove:

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