The Countryside Alliance has welcomed the appointment of Owen Paterson as the new Secretary of State for environment, food and rural affairs after the cabinet reshuffle. He takes over from Caroline Spelman.

This is for the countryside,” said Alliance chairman Barney White-Spunner.

“Owen has consistently shown, as a rural MP and Shadow Minister for Fisheries and Food, a real understanding of the issues facing the countryside and rural people.

“He is a staunch supporter of all field sports and a keen rider and was very active in the defence of hunting.”

Last year, Mr Paterson and his wife Rose took part in the Mongol Derby, while Owen’s daughter Evie was on the junior eventing team for the 2010 Europeans.

Mr Paterson has also hunted with the Wynnstay.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (13 September 2012)