Liz Truss has taken over from Owen Paterson as Secretary of State for environment, food and rural affairs.

She was appointed to the role in last month’s Cabinet reshuffle, and aged 39 she became the youngest ever female Conservative Cabinet minister.

Ms Truss moved from the Department of Education and is an MP in rural Norfolk.

Mr Paterson had been in the role since 2012 when he took over from Caroline Spelman.

He had strong equestrian connections — he and his wife Rose took part in the 2011 Mongol Derby, while his daughter Evie was on the junior eventing team for the 2010 Europeans.

Mr Paterson has also hunted with the Wynnstay and his wife Rose is the chairman of Aintree racecourse.

Owen Paterson has worked extremely hard as Secretary of State and has always had the interests of the countryside and rural communities clearly at heart, but the Alliance remains concerned that no matter who is environment minister, fundamental issues within the department make this an almost impossible role,” said the Countryside Alliance’s (CA) Barney White-Spunner.

“We wish Liz Truss all the best on her appointment and look forward to working with her. We hope that she, her colleagues in Government, and those in the Labour party will take the opportunity over the next 10 months to consider how the next government will deliver rural policy.”

The CA’s Tim Bonner added: “It was good to see Liz Truss on our stand at the CLA Game Fair on Sunday. She responded well to all the issues we raised and she has always been personally committed to repeal of the Hunting Act so we look forward to having more detailed meetings with her as soon as possible.”

First published in Horse & Hound magazine on 31 July 2014