Several weeks on from the formation of Theresa May’s government, ministerial briefs at the new Department of Business, Energy and Industry (BEIS) have been officially confirmed.
As had been widely expected Nick Hurd, MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, has been confirmed as Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry, taking responsibility for climate change, including carbon budgets, climate science, international climate change efforts, and the green economy, including the Green Investment Bank. His industrial responsibilities also extend to advanced manufacturing, materials, and the automotive sector.
The move is likely to be broadly welcomed by green groups, who have praised Hurd’s record as an advocate for ambitious action to tackle climate change. He is a supporter of the Conservative Environment Network thinktank and before entering government he served on the Environment Audit Select Committee and led work on climate change policy for the Conservative Party Quality of Life Policy Group, chaired by Lord Deben.
He was also a member of the Globe International Parliamentary network for Climate Change and sponsored the Sustainable Communities Act as a Private Members Bill. He joined BEIS from the Department for International Development where he worked on a range of climate change issues, including improving access to clean energy in Africa.
Writing on Twitter this morning, Hurd said the new role would seek to better integrate industrial and climate policy. “Time for climate change and industrial policy to be brought together more closely,” he said. “Look forward to working on it.”
He added that the climate change brief was a “welcome opportunity to reconnect with the issue I chose to focus on when I entered Parliament”.
Meanwhile, Conservative peer Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe has been confirmed as Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property, taking responsibility for nuclear, oil and gas, shale gas, low carbon generation, security of supply, electricity and gas wholesale markets and networks, energy efficiency and heat, fuel poverty, smart meters and smart systems, international energy, and energy security.
A former senior executive at Tesco, Neville-Rolfe will also represent the department in the House of Lords, and take responsibility for intellectual property and EU single market issues.
Neville-Rolfe’s appointment last month was similarly welcomed by green groups, who highlighted her record at Tesco leading much of the supermarket’s work to improve its environmental performance and response to climate change.
Both Hurd and Neville-Rolfe will be supported by the department’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Industry and Energy, Jesse Norman, whose responsibilities include industrial and energy policy.
Completing the ministerial roster at the department, Margot James has been confirmed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility. She will support Nick Hurd as Minister for Climate Change and Industry and her responsibilities include the retail sector, regulatory reform, corporate governance, labour markets, and consumer and competition issues, as well as the small business sector.
The ministerial team will be led by Secretary of State Greg Clark and now faces a daunting in-tray as it continues work to deliver a new emission reduction plan for the UK, support Number 10’s review of the controversial Hinkley Point project, deliver the promised national smart meter roll out, and flesh out Theresa May’s vision for a new industrial strategy.
Clark welcomed the confirmation of the new team. “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 in a statement. “I’m supported by a great ministerial team and we will work tirelessly to deliver on all of these areas, which are vital for the future success of our country.”