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New Environment Secretary appointed in reshuffle – Friends of the Earth reaction

news release

Reacting to the news that Steve Barclay has replaced Thérèse Coffey as Environment Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet reshuffle, Paul de Zylva, nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“Thérèse Coffey’s time as Environment Secretary was mired in controversy. Her lasting legacy will be the complacency she showed in dealing with the ongoing sewage scandal, which has seen the near-complete deterioration of our precious rivers and seas.

“While she did ensure the UK played a positive role in last year’s UN biodiversity talks, she will also be remembered for unhelpful speeches that pitted the interests of farmers, business leaders and environmental groups against each other instead of working to unite them.

“Steve Barclay is picking up a brief that has been neglected throughout the majority of his party’s time in office – there is a lot of lost time to make up for. Given the dire state of nature in the UK, he must start by urgently addressing the poor performance of polluting water companies and the regulator Ofwat. He must support farmers to work in harmony with nature and slash harmful emissions, and properly resource and restore trust in the government’s wildlife and environment watchdogs.”


For more information and interview requests contact the Friends of the Earth press office on 020 7566 1649 or email

Notes to editors:

1. About Friends of the EarthFriends of the Earth is an international community dedicated to the protection of the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We bring together more than two million people in 75 countries, combining people power all over the world to transform local actions into global impact. For more information visit: follow us at @friends_earth, or like our Facebook page. Save paper and send an e-card today, available at

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