Scottish cabinet reshuffle produces new Environment Minister

A cabinet reshuffle following the death of the Scottish First Minister, Donald Dewar, has produced a new Environment Minister, creating separate environment and transport briefs.


Formerly Minister for Children and Education, which included sport and culture, Sam Galbraith has brought sport and culture with him to environment, which will be overseen by Allan Wilson, the new Deputy Minister for Sport and Culture. Sarah Boyack, the Former Environment Minister, has retained responsibility for roads and transport.

Formerly a brain surgeon, Sam Galbraith was also one of the first people in Europe to undergo a lung transplant, and has now far exceeded the life expectancy for such patients, according to a Scottish Executive spokesperson. Partly because of this experience, and because of his age, the spokesperson told edie, “he’s not someone who has personal political ambition”, though is very keen to work as a member of the cabinet.

“The new Ministerial team is one that is full of talent,” said new First Minister, Henry McLeish. “They will work tirelessly for the people of Scotland. I have brought together a team that has experience, energy and a determination to fight for social justice.”

Environmentalists are cautious about the new ministry structure. “The splitting of the Environment and Transport responsibilities should allow more initiatives to be taken forward than was possible with one overworked Minister as was the case in the past year,” said Friends of the Earth Director, Kevin Dunion. “It carries the danger of Transport returning to its old priorities of ‘predict and provide’ so far as car traffic is concerned. We hope this will not be the case with Sarah Boyack in charge. However, the signals that the new First Minister wants to accelerate the construction of the M74 and drop workplace charging provisions is worrying.”

However, Dunion is more enthusiastic about the new Environment Minister. “We look forward to working with Sam Galbraith and seeking to establish some common priorities for improving Scotland’s environmental performance.”

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