Truss takes on ‘impossible’ environment job

Environment secretary Owen Paterson has been sacked – and Liz Truss is his replacement.

Ms Truss is thought of as an up-and-comer in government – and she joins cabinet as a result of the latest reshuffle, but she has already been accused by Labour of “flunking” her first test in the position.

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Truss vowed to used “every tool in [the] toolbox” to fight the spread of bovine TB, though the government has decided not to expand the badger culls. The ‘pilot’ culls will continue, however.

Maria Eagle, shadow environment secretary, told MPs she was “appalled” by Truss’s plan to continue the current badger cull scheme. Eagle labelled the current system as “unscientific, inhumane and ineffective”. The an independent scientific assessment found that this method, evaluated in the first year of the cull, did not meet humaneness criteria and was ineffective.

Eagle called for an independent review of the cull, but Truss denied this was necessary, stating that Natural England would supervise the effectiveness of the scheme. Truss explained herself, stating: “Let’s be absolutely clear, the reality is that bovine TB represents a massive threat to our dairy and beef industries, and we are looking at a potential of a loss of over £1 billion of economic growth in our country and we need to look at the best scientific evidence.”

The Countryside Alliance expressed concerns that “no matter who is environment secretary, fundamental issues within the department make this an almost impossible role.”

Owen Paterson was a supporter of the badger cull, and the Countryside Alliance said he had worked “extremely hard” to support rural interests.

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