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New Environment Secretary and Minister of State announced

The Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP has been confirmed as the new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whilst David Heath MP has been announced as the new Minister of State. 

Owen Paterson is MP for North Shropshire and takes up his position after serving as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for two years. As Secretary of State he will take overall responsibility for departmental policy, with particular interests in CAP reform, biodiversity and climate change. 

Liberal Democrat David Heath is MP for Somerton and Frome – a prominent dairy farming area. Prior to this he served as Leader of Somerset County Council and also acted as Parliamentary Consultant for the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Richard Benyon MP, himself a farmer in West Berkshire, retains his position in the Defra team, which he has held since May 2010, as does Lord Taylor of Holbeach who was appointed in September last year.

More information about their individual responsibilities will be published by Defra soon.