The UK has a new energy secretary after Alok Sharma, the nation's former international development secretary, took over from long-time onshore wind critic Andrea Leadsom in a shake-up at the top of government by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Sharma will also become the new president of the COP26 climate change summit to be held in Glasgow this November, after the sacking of Claire O’Neill from the role last month.

Sharma had been international development secretary since July 2019, and was previously a minister for employment at the Department of Works and Pensions.

Leadsom was sacked in Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle after six months heading up the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS).

Leadsom, a high-profile critic of onshore wind, challenged Johnson for the leadership of the Conservative party in 2019. However, she was seen as a staunch supporter of the prime minister as well as a leading campaigner for Brexit.

Leadsom was a controversial figure to the UK renewables sector after completing an initial stint as energy minister in 2015 and 2016, when she helped steer through legislation taking onshore wind out of the national support mechanism, and championed the role of fracking-based gas extraction.

She had previously claimed turbines are inefficient and had an unacceptable impact in local communities.

Environment secretary Theresa Villiers was among other high-profile sackings by the prime minister in his first major reshuffle since last year’s general election.