Stewart Stevenson will be stepping down as Minister for Environment and Climate Change and will be replaced by Paul Wheelhouse, MSP for South Scotland, who will report to Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead.
It was announced today (Wednesday 5th) as part of Cabinet shake up by First Minister Alex Salmond.
Mr Wheelhouse will take over the responsibility for the Forestry Commission Scotland, Biodiversity, Crofting, National Parks and Environmental Justice, Flooding, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Aquaculture.
Stewart Stevenson was a familiar face in the Western Isles. The new Minister will take over the responsibility for deciding if plans to make the Sound of Barra a recognised special area of conservation should be brought forward as well as appointing the Convenor of the new Crofting Commission.
He has been the Minister for Environment and Climate Change since the May 5th election in 2011.
Paying tribute to Stewart Stevenson for his service, Alex Salmond said: “I am particularly grateful for the work Mr Stevenson did around championing Scotland’s world leading climate change legislation and sharing Scotland’s ambition with other governments and countries worldwide to tackle this huge issue.
“Mr Stevenson brought a unique intelligence and approach to his portfolio which was both refreshing and effective.”
Dr Alasdair Allan, Western Isles MSP, remains the Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages.
Dr Allan commented: “The reshuffle in the Scottish Government was a very orderly affair compared to the long drawn out and chaotic reshuffle in Westminster over the last few days.
“The vast majority of ministers stay in their previous roles, but there are three people who have retired from the Government –Minister for Parliamentary business Brian Adam, who has not been well, the Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business Bruce Crawford and Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson.
“Stewart Stevenson who has been a regular visitor to the Western Isles on crofting and other issues is replaced by Paul Wheelhouse, a very able newcomer to the Parliament. Another extremely talented new minister is Humza Yousaf, who takes on External Affairs and International Development.”
He added: “I look forward to seeing a number of these new ministers in the western Isles and to working with them all in the future.”