Interview conducted by Ms Lynda Finn, with additional questions by Mr Alan Yabsley, for the History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group, 07 June 2016, in the School of History, Queen Mary University of London. Transcribed by Mrs Debra Gee, and edited by Mr Alan Yabsley and Professor Tilli Tansey.
Dame Joan Ruddock DBE BSc ARCS (b. 1943) was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Lewisham Deptford from 1987 to 2015. In 1989 she brought forward a Private Members’ Bill on fly-tipping that became the Control of Pollution Act 1989 and, in 2003, a Private Members’ Bill that became the Household Waste Recycling Act 2003. In 2007 she became Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and requested the waste brief, serving as Minister for Biodiversity, Climate Change and Waste until she joined the newly created Department for Energy and Climate Change in October 2008. Dame Joan gave her final speech to the House of Commons on 26 March 2015.
Mr Jeff Cooper MSc (b. 1949) became Waste Recycling Coordinator at the Greater London Council in 1982. He was subsequently appointed Waste Planner for the London Waste Regulation Authority (LWRA) where he also represented the International Solid Waste Association’s recycling working group as its Vice-Chair. He joined the newly-formed Environment Agency in 1996 on a project for the development of regulations for packaging waste. He was elected Junior Vice President of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management in 2004, and served as President from 2007 to 2008. Since 2009 he has worked as an independent consultant and journalist.
The History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group is funded by the Wellcome Trust, which is a registered charity (no. 210183). The current interview has been funded by the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award entitled “Makers of modern biomedicine: testimonies and legacy” (2012-2017; awarded to Professor Tilli Tansey).
The interview is part of the History of the Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection).
Access to the History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group’s website:
Access to the ‘Epidemiology and environment’ thematic group of resources:
Access to the transcript of this video interview and its related material:
History of Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection), items e2016137-e2016161.
Example of how to cite: Finn L, Yabsley A (intvrs); Yabsley A (prod) (2016) Ruddock, Joan & Cooper, Jeff: 01 - Early life and university; discovering politics (07-Jun-2016). History of Modern Biomedicine Interviews (Digital Collection), item e2016138. London: Queen Mary University of London.
Note: Video interviews are conducted following standard oral history methodology, and have received ethical approval (reference QMREC 0642). Video interview transcripts are edited only for clarity and factual accuracy. Related material has been deposited in the Wellcome Library.
© The Trustee of the Wellcome Trust, London, 2016
Dame Joan Ruddock and Mr Jeff Cooper have contributed to our Wellcome Witness Seminar on 'The Development of Waste Management in the UK c.1960–c.2000' .
The transcript of an additional interview with Mr Jeff Cooper, and individual interviews with other participants from 'The Development of Waste Management in the UK c.1960–c.2000' Witness Seminar are available here.