New environment role for Nick Herbert
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert is to champion the environment, farming and the countryside following his appointment as Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
His move from the justice portfolio in the Shadow Cabinet was announced on Monday (19 January).
It is one of several key changes in a reshuffle to create what Mr Cameron described as the "strongest possible Shadow Cabinet to take us forward to the General Election".
The move has been welcomed by the Country Land and Business Association, who said yesterday that "with his strong rural background he has a good understanding of the problems currently facing the rural sector". The National Farmers Union said that it was "looking forward to working with Mr Herbert in his new role and is hoping to meet with him at the earliest opportunity".
Mr Herbert helped to set up the Countryside Movement, which later became the Countryside Alliance.
In his Arundel and South Downs constituency, Mr Herbert has been a strong supporter of farming and the countryside, and has opposed excessive development.
The MP is also a vocal opponent of plans to open new landfill sites at Rock Common near Washington and Laybrook Brickworks near Thakeham. Last year, Mr Herbert supported the closure of Horton Landfill Site near Small Dole and was "extremely disappointed" by the decision to extend its use to 2010.
At a waste summit convened last year, Mr Herbert encouraged the formation of a new organisation, Zero Landfill, which brought together campaigners from Thakeham Village Action, Small Dole Action Group and Chanctonbury Landfill Action Group, who are all opposing tips in their communities.
This week, Mr Herbert will be writing to Mayor of London Boris Johnson requesting that he intervene to prevent the export of nearly two million tonnes of waste from London to West Sussex over the next 20 years.
Nick Herbert has been the MP for Arundel and South Downs since the last election in May 2005. In December 2005 he joined the frontbench as Shadow Minister for Police Reform. In July 2007 he was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Justice.
Mr Herbert, whose grandfather farmed at Northiam in East Sussex, commented: "This is a great brief for me. I am passionate about defending rural communities and protecting the environment. I enjoyed my time at justice but it's good to have a new challenge, especially on such important issues that are close to my heart and directly relevant to this very rural constituency."
Mr Herbert added that he would spend the next few days getting up to speed with his new brief and meeting his new team.
Notes for Editors
1. The photograph shows Nick Herbert (left) with Simon Croft on a visit last year to Crumbs of Sussex, a shop close to the A24 at Washington that specialises in fresh local produce. For their website, visit http://www.crumbsofsussex.co.uk/.