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Climate change minister Morley shufed out of job

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CLIMATE CHANGE and environment minister Elliot Morley was one of the surprise casualties of prime minister Tony Blair's cabinet reshufe last week.

After nine years as a Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs minister, Morley was relieved of his duties last week.

It is not yet clear who his successor will be - names in the frame include Ian Pearson, Ben Bradshaw, Barry Gardiner and Baroness Ashton of Upholland.

This week Morley told NCE that he had been offered other posts in government, but had declined them.

'The environmental portfolio is what I was interested in. I had no interest in another government job, ' he said.

Morley was made an honourary fellow of the ICE last year in recognition of his flood and waste management work (NCE 7 April 2005). He said he retained a keen interest in the issues, as well as in sustainable communities, improving the efciency of the UK's building stock and renewable energy.

Morley's former boss, environment secretary Margaret Beckett, was last week replaced by former communities and local government minister David Milliband. Beckett will head the Foreign Office.

This week Morley told NCE that the single greatest environmental issue facing government is climate change.

'Everything that's a big issue politically stems from [climate change]: Water shortages, ood and coastal defence, building regulations, sustainable communities, and energy policy.

'Transport, and in particular aviation emissions, need to be addressed and included in the European emissions trading scheme.' Milliband, Morley said, 'is very able and capable, and held in very high regard by the Prime Minister. It's a recognition of the importance given to environmental matters that he's got the job'.

But sources in local government said Milliband had made little impact during his post at the Of ce of the Deputy Prime Minister.

'He dazzled people with words but where's his legacy?' queried one commentator.

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