Welcoming Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Defra’s Minister for sustainable development
In a message to readers of SD Scene, Lord Taylor of Holbeach explains the Government’s commitment to mainstreaming sustainable development and his responsibility for it.
Lord Taylor was appointed as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in September 2011 following Lord Henley’s appointment as Minister of State at the Home Office. Within his varied Ministerial portfolio, he is responsible for sustainable development.
Lord Taylor entered the House of Lords in 2006, having been made a life peer as Baron Taylor of Holbeach, of South Holland in the County of Lincolnshire. He has been Government spokesperson for the Cabinet Office, Energy and Climate Change, and Work and Pensions since 2010. He has also served as a Whip in the House of Lords. He was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1992 for political service, and served as Chairman of the National Conservative Convention from 2000 to 2003 and Deputy Chairman of the Party.
“I am very pleased to have been given the opportunity to be the minister responsible for sustainable development, and am enjoying getting to grips with the role. As a ministerial team, we are committed to making sustainable development central to the way government operates, so that it becomes central to how government makes policy, runs our buildings and purchases goods and services. Our approach builds on the principles that underpinned the UK’s 2005 sustainable development strategy by recognising the needs of the economy, society and the natural environment, alongside the use of good governance and sound science.
“Defra is leading a programme of activities to mainstream sustainable development across government – a collective commitment and one for which all government departments have a responsibility. This approach is really starting to show results with some strong progress being made including in policy embedding, leading by example, capability building and transparency.
“As part of the new framework for embedding sustainable development into policy making, all departments’ published business plans are currently being refreshed, and through close working between my officials and Oliver Letwin’s, we will ensure that these plans will embed sustainable development throughout policy and operations. These business plans set out how and when Government will implement its commitments and include structural reform plans, financial information and indicators. The business plans are an important part of the Government’s transparency agenda, and quarterly reviews ensure that anyone can check that departments are meeting their commitments.
“I recognise the sustainable development expertise and commitment among stakeholders and agree that it is very important to engage and use the expertise of stakeholders in supporting sustainable policy making. We have identified a need to engage further with non-governmental organisations and those with academic expertise in sustainable development and need to assist these groups in scrutinising our work in this field. By involving these bodies at earlier stages of policy development work, we will seek to use their expertise in developing more innovative ways of addressing sustainability issues. I have already enjoyed meeting many sustainable development expert stakeholders including in meetings to discuss embedding sustainable development in business plans and through sustainable procurement. Other events are planned in the future covering the development of a new set of sustainable development indicators and the recently re-launched Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) and we hope to involve as many key stakeholders in these as we can.
“We will continue to build effective relationships within Government and with key external stakeholders – thus helping people to understand and feel motivated about sustainable development, and to take personal responsibility for playing their part.
“I look forward to working with you in the future.”
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