THE forestry minister became another high-profile casualty of this week's government upheaval when she stood down from the role with immediate effect. 

Trudy Harrison, the MP for Copeland, made the announcement amid a series of government reshuffles, sackings, and resignations, which also saw Steve Barclay replace Thérèse Coffey as environment secretary at Defra

Forestry Journal: The changes also saw Steve Barclay become environment secretary The changes also saw Steve Barclay become environment secretary

Ms Harrison, who had only been in the post since October 2022, had been praised by many in forestry for her commitment to the sector, which saw "encouraging changes" made to both the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) and Countryside Stewardship (CS) schemes, England's tree-planting rates rise, and the woodland creation consultation process given a long-awaited rejig.


Ms Harrison said: "As my constituents will know, I shall not be standing at the next General Election and amidst the changes [on Monday] I have decided to devote my final months solely to Copeland’s priorities without the distraction of ministerial duties, I shall therefore be standing down as Defra’s Environment Minister.

"I would like to recognise the enormous efforts and talents of all those I have had the pleasure of working alongside, in particular my Private Office and the Defra family, the Forestry Commission, Natural England and the JNCC - the agencies that I have been responsible for.

"Publishing the Environmental Improvement Plan, being able to build on the Environment Act, increasing tree and hedgerow planting, supporting the woodland and forestry industries and spending my days working for the benefit of nature are the highlights I shall treasure forever."

Among other previously arranged engagements, Ms Harrison was due to be a keynote speak at Confor's annual conference in December. 

Stuart Goodall, Confor's chief executive, said: "“Confor enjoyed a very constructive relationship with Trudy Harrison MP and we were very grateful for her enthusiastic support for the forestry and wood processing industry." 

Robbie Moore, the MP Keighley and Ilkley, is likely to replace Ms Harrison in the role, having been appointed as a Defra minister this week, but his portfolio is yet to be officially confirmed.