The move comes less than a year after the last cabinet reshuffle, in which responsibility for construction was moved to the DTI after the abolition of the DETR.
The latest reshuffle has also moved Lord Falconer from his housing brief to a Home Office role, just hours after singing off the troubled Millennium Dome to a Lend Lease-led consortium. His housing brief has been handed to Lord Rooker.
This week's shake-up was welcomed by the industry. Construction Industry Council chief executive Graham Watts said splitting transport from local government was a move the CIC had hoped for as soon as it heard of Byers' resignation. But he warned that one side-effect might be that transport and local government slip down the government agenda now that they are in smaller departments. He added that he would have liked to have seen promotions for local government minster Nick Raynsford and transport minister John Spellar.
It makes sense to split up the DTLR, but there must be some co-ordination
Allan Wilén, economics director, CPA
Construction Products Association economics director Allan Wilén said a fresh start on transport was welcome: "DTLR was a big department. It makes sense to split it up, but there must be some co-ordination. For example, the departments must make sure funds allocated for road improvement are pushed through by local government."
A spokesperson for the Association of Consulting Engineers agreed that a department focusing solely on transport was a good thing. He said: "There needs to be real concentration on sorting out problems at transport."