Greg Clark has been appointed secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy – a newly created role which gives a strong indication that the incoming prime minister Theresa May has merged some of the responsibilities of DECC with the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) department.
And, in a statement on his new appointment this afternoon, Clark suggested he would be taking on the climate change brief as well as looking after energy and business.
“I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change,” he said.
First elected to Parliament in 2005 as the MP for Tunbridge Wells, Clark has held a number of front bench positions, both in government and the shadow cabinet.
He served as shadow secretary of state for energy and climate change from 2008 to 2010, and also worked in the coalition government as financial secretary to the Treasury, minister of state for cities and constitution and minister of state for universities, science and cities.
As communities secretary at DCLG for the past year, Clark had the final say over planning decisions, including gas developer Cuadrilla’s fracking application for a site in Lancashire, over which Clark had been expected to make a final decision.
Meanwhile, Amber Rudd, who previously held the post of secretary of state for energy and climate change, was promoted earlier today to head up the Home Office.
Responding to Clark’s appointment, Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), called Greg Clark an “excellent appointment”.
“He understands climate change, and has written influential papers on the benefits of Britain developing a low-carbon economy,” said Black in a statement. “Importantly, he sees that economic growth and tackling climate change are bedfellows, not opponents – and he now has the opportunity to align British industry, energy and climate policy in a way that has never been done before.”
Green advocates gave mixed responses to the news that energy policy will be moved to the business department, with some expressing concern it could bode ill for the importance put on climate change.
Source: Business Green