Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment

Current role holder: Ben Macpherson MSP

Ben Macpherson  MSP

Ben Macpherson was appointed Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment in December 2020.


Supports the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism and the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.

Specific responsibilities are:

  • Animal health & welfare
  • Marine planning
  • National Parks and natural heritage
  • Physical and marine environment
  • Sustainable development
  • Plant Health (including forestry disease issues)
  • GM
  • Climate Change implications related to Agriculture


Ben grew up in Edinburgh before studying a BA Honours degree in Philosophy and Politics at the University of York. After graduating he returned to Edinburgh and worked in a number of different roles before going on to complete a postgraduate LLB and a Diploma in Legal Practice at the University of Edinburgh. He then qualified as a solicitor and practised as a lawyer with one of Scotland’s large commercial firms. As well as his legal training, Ben has worked in financial services, for an NGO, in renewable energy, in a school and in hospitality.

Throughout his career, Ben has been a committed political activist. In 2016 this culminated in being elected as the MSP for the Edinburgh Northern and Leith constituency, where he lives.

As a backbencher, Ben has previously served on the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee, Justice Committee and Sub-Committee on Policing. He was also a Parliamentary Liaison Officer to the First Minster between 2016-2018. In June 2018 he was appointed as Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development in the Scottish Government, before moving in February 2020 to the role of Minister for Public Finance and Migration and subsequently being appointed to his current role as Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment in December 2020.

He is a committed internationalist and passionate about social justice and sustainable, inclusive economic progress. Beyond working and campaigning, Ben likes running, football and watching films and documentaries.