The UK renewables community has lost its two most active champions in government as a result of Prime Minister Tony Blair's latest ministerial reshuffle. Energy minister Brian Wilson, who is retiring from his post in the Department of Trade and Industry, and environment minister Michael Meacher have both gone. Wilson, 52, was well-regarded by the wind industry for his apparently genuine enthusiasm for renewables and determination to put them at the heart of Britain's new energy policy. But after six years in government posts shuttling between his family in Scotland and parliament in London, he says he now wants "a more normal life and different challenges." His energy mantle is taken up by Stephen Timms, 47, minister for e-commerce and competition. Timms got off to a good start in the eyes of the wind industry when, only one day into his new job, he told the oil and gas industry trade fair in Aberdeen that his "number one priority would be renewables." While Wilson went of his own accord, Michael Meacher was sacked from his job of environment minister. As one of the few ministers in the Department of Environment, Food and Regional Affairs to fully understand the complex environment portfolio -- from genetically modified crops to climate change -- the often outspoken Meacher will be missed by many in the green movement.
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