Universities and science are split across two departments but Jo Johnson remains in place as minister overseeing both

The Department for Energy and Climate change (Decc) has been abolished in a reorganisation of UK government departments by the incoming prime minister Theresa May.

Decc’s activities will now be incorporated into a new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis), which replaces the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and will be overseen by Greg Clark, a former universities and science minister.

Environmental groups have been critical of the move, which they see as downgrading the importance of climate change. ‘It sends a terrible signal at the worst possible time, undermining efforts to secure a clean, safe energy future,’ said the chief executive of ClientEarth, James Thornton, in a statement. ‘It is now essential that newly appointed department head Greg Clark proves the government’s commitment to tackling climate change is undimmed. This decision will otherwise be a source of deep regret in the difficult years ahead.’

Elsewhere in the new cabinet, Jo Johnson has kept his job as universities and science minister with his post shared across the Department for Education and Beis. Former leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom has been appointed as the new environment secretary, taking over the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from Liz Truss. The higher education brief has been moved from Bis to the education department, overseen by Justine Greening.