The MP for North Shropshire has a background in leather manufacturing through a family business.
In the coalition government’s biggest reshuffle to date the former Northern Ireland secretary takes over from Caroline Spelman and has overall responsibility for policy at the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs, with particular interest in Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, biodiversity and climate change.
The appointment has been welcomed by the waste sector. Mr Paterson was appointed as shadow agriculture, fisheries and food minister from 2003-05, during which time he became an expert on bovine TB and campaigned for the dairy industry.
Commenting on the appointment, Margaret Bates, Professor of Sustainable Waste Management at the University of Northampton, said that Mr Paterson’s knowledge about leather would help him with his new portfolio.
She said: “This means he is a proper scientist and will understand how chemicals and the environment interact. In the past some people have not understood the principles of how the environment operates”.
Ms Bates added that she would be “delighted’ if Mr Paterson would like to call in at the University of Northampton to learn about its work on waste as well as visit its new tannery facilities.