Dr Therese Coffey MP has been promoted out of DEFRA and is now Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, following the resignation of Amber Rudd, according to today’s media.
There won’t be many in the conservation world sad to see her go. Despite (in spite of?) her scientific credentials, Dr Coffey has been the epitome of wilful blindness when it comes to the illegal killing of raptors on grouse moors; totally disinterested and apathetic time and time and time again.
[Dr Coffey visiting Wemmergill Estate. Photo by Dave Mitchell]
This is the Environment Minister who sat through the 2016 Westminster Hall debate on banning driven grouse shooting playing with her phone and rummaging around in her handbag (here). The Environment Minister who was happy to pose on the grouse moor at Wemmergill Estate where the corpses of two shot short-eared owls had been found previously (here) and where a satellite-tagged hen harrier disappeared (here). The Environment Minister who was happy to rely on sophistry instead of addressing the issue of lead ammunition (here). The Environment Minister who couldn’t be arsed to issue a statement after the publication of research showing that 72% of satellite-tagged hen harriers were considered to have been illegally killed on driven grouse moors (here). The Environment Minister who couldn’t be arsed to offer a full explanation about why she refused to instigate an independent inquiry in to the (un)sustainability of English grouse moors (here). The Environment Minister who stifled attempts to improve wildlife crime reporting because she misunderstood the limitations of the current reporting structure (here).
There will be others from different conservation fields who share our disdain, including Friends of the Earth who criticised Dr Coffey last year for her enthusiastic promotion of the weedkiller Round Up which contains highly toxic Glyphosate (here).
Sorry to see her go? Not one tiny bit, although judging by her voting record her move to the Dept of Work & Pensions should be of grave concern to the sick and disabled.