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The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the
government department Ministry or department, also less commonly used secretariat, office, or directorate are designations used by a first-level Executive (government), executive bodies in the Machinery of government, machinery of governments that manage a specific s ...
responsible for
environmental A biophysical environment is a life, biotic and Abiotic component, abiotic surrounding of an organism or population, and consequently includes the factors that have an influence in their survival, development, and evolution. A biophysical environ ...
protection, food production and standards,
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
,
fisheries Fishery is the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life. Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and Fish farming, fish farms, both in fresh water (about 10% of all catch) and the oceans (about 90%). About 500 million pe ...
and rural communities in the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
.
Concordats A concordat is a convention between the Holy See and a sovereign state that defines the relationship between the Catholic Church and the state in matters that concern both,René Metz, "What is Canon Law?" (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1960 st Edit ...
set out agreed frameworks for co operation, between it and the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive, which have devolved responsibilities for these matters in their respective nations. Defra also leads for the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
on agricultural, fisheries and environmental matters in international negotiations on sustainable development and climate change, although a new
Department of Energy and Climate Change The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was a British government department created on 3 October 2008, by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to take over some of the functions related to energy of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Re ...
was created on 3 October 2008 to take over the last responsibility; later transferred to the
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is a department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department ...
following
Theresa May Theresa Mary, Lady May (; ' Brasier; born 1 October 1956) is a British politician who served as and from 2016 to 2019. May served as from 2010 to 2016 in the and has been the (MP) for in since . Ideologically, she identifies herself as ...

Theresa May
's appointment as Prime Minister in July 2016.


Creation

The department was formed in June 2001, under the leadership of
Margaret Beckett Dame Margaret Mary Beckett (' Jackson; born 15 January 1943) is a British politician who has served as Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Derby South (UK Parliament constituency), Derby South since 1983 United ...
, when the
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food An agriculture ministry (also called an agriculture department, agriculture board, agriculture council, or agriculture agency, or ministry of rural development) is a Ministry (government department), ministry charged with agriculture. The ministry ...
(MAFF) was merged with part of the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and with a small part of the
Home Office The Home Office (HO), also known (especially in official papers and when referred to in Parliament) as the Home Department, is a ministerial department of the Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govren ...

Home Office
. It was created after the perceived failure of MAFF, to deal adequately with an outbreak of
Foot and Mouth disease Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) or hoof-and-mouth disease (HMD) is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organi ...
. The department had about 9,000 core personnel, . In October 2008, the climate team at Defra was merged with the energy team from the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), to create the
Department of Energy and Climate Change The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was a British government department created on 3 October 2008, by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to take over some of the functions related to energy of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Re ...
, then headed by
Ed Miliband Edward Samuel Miliband (born 24 December 1969) is a British politician serving as Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero since 2021. He has been the Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Donca ...

Ed Miliband
.


Ministers

The Defra Ministers are as follows: The
Permanent Secretary
Permanent Secretary
is
Tamara Finkelstein Tamara Margaret Finkelstein (born 24 May 1967) is a British civil servant who is currently the permanent secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Early life and education Tamara Margaret Finkelstein was born on 24 ...
, who replaced
Clare Moriarty Dame Clare Moriarty Order of the Bath, DCB (born 6 April 1963) is a former British Civil Service, British civil servant, who served as Permanent Secretary of the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) from March 2019 until January 202 ...

Clare Moriarty
in 2019. Shadow ministers portfolios can differ from government departments therefore overlap.


Responsibilities

Defra is responsible for British Government policy in the following areas *
Adaptation to global warming Climate change adaptation is the process of adjusting to current or expected climate change Climate change includes both global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patte ...
*
Agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

Agriculture
*
Air quality Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of gas ...
*
Animal health Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine Medicine is the Art (skill), art, science, and Praxis (process) , practice of caring for a patient and managing the diagnosis, prognosis, Preventive medicine, prevention, therapy, treatment or Pall ...
and
animal welfare Animal welfare is the well-being of non-human animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as ...
*
Biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

Biodiversity
*
Conservation Conservation is the preservation or efficient use of resources, or the conservation of various quantities under physical laws. Conservation may also refer to: Environment and natural resources * Nature conservation, the protection and manageme ...
*
Chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atoms, which ...
s and
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns ** Weed, a plant considered undesirable * Infectious d ...
s *
Fisheries Fishery is the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life. Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and Fish farming, fish farms, both in fresh water (about 10% of all catch) and the oceans (about 90%). About 500 million pe ...
*
Flooding A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide Tides are the rise and fall of s caused by the combined effects of the fo ...

Flooding
*
Food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, protein (nutrient), proteins, vi ...
*
Forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, ste ...
*
Hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism ...

Hunting
*
Inland waterways
Inland waterways
*
Land management Land management is the process of managing Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English s ...
*
Marine Marine is an adjective meaning of or pertaining to the sea or ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
Marine
policy *
National parks#REDIRECT National park A national park is a park in use for Conservation (ethic), conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state dec ...
*
Noise Noise is unwanted sound In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as an acoustic wave, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid. In human physiology and psychology, sound is the ''reception'' of such waves and t ...

Noise
*
Plant healthPlant health includes the protection of plants, as well as scientific and regulatory frameworks for controlling plant pests or pathogens. Plant health is concerned with: * Ecosystem health with a special focus on plants Plants are mainly mul ...
*
Rural developmentRural development is the process of improving the quality of life and economic well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So th ...
*
Sustainable development Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services Social forestry in India, Social ...

Sustainable development
*
Waste management Waste management (or waste disposal) includes the processes and actions required to manage waste Waste (or wastes) are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthles ...

Waste management
*
Water management Water resource management is the activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources. It is an aspect of water cycle management. Water is essential for our survival. The field of water resources manageme ...
Some policies apply to
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
alone due to
devolution Devolution is the statutory A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or p ...
, while others are not devolved and therefore apply to the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
as a whole.


Executive agencies

The department's
executive agencies An executive agency is a part of a government department that is treated as managerially and budgetarily separate, to carry out some part of the executive functions of the United Kingdom government The Government of the United Kingdom, dom ...
are: *
Animal and Plant Health Agency , logo_width = 200px , picture = , picture_width = , picture_caption = , superseding = , budget = £90.2 millionfiscal year 2018/19 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), formerly known as the Animal Health and Veterin ...
(formerly the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, formed by a merger of
Animal Health Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine Medicine is the Art (skill), art, science, and Praxis (process) , practice of caring for a patient and managing the diagnosis, prognosis, Preventive medicine, prevention, therapy, treatment or Pall ...
and the
Veterinary Laboratories AgencyThe Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) was an executive agency of the UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It carried out animal disease surveillance, diagnostic services and veterinary scientific research for ...
, and later parts of the Food and Environment Research Agency. Animal Health had launched on 2 April 2007 and was formerly the
State Veterinary ServiceThe State Veterinary Service (SVS) was, from 1938–2007, an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), a Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of the Government of the United Kingdom ...
) *
Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) is an executive agency of the United Kingdom government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). It carries out a wide range of research, advisory, consultan ...
*
Rural Payments Agency The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is an executive agency of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The RPA delivers the European Union (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments to farmers and traders in England, payi ...
*
Veterinary Medicines DirectorateThe Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) seeking to protect public health, animal health, the environment and promoting animal welfare by assuring the safety, ...


Key delivery partners

The department's key delivery partners are: *
Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is a levy board funded by farmers and growers and some other parts of the supply chain. It aims to enhance farm business efficiency and competitiveness in the areas of: pig, beef and lamb ...
*
Consumer Council for Water The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) is a non-departmental public bodyIn the United Kingdom, non-departmental public body (NDPB) is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, Treasury, the Scottish Government and the Northern ...
*
Environment Agency The Environment Agency (EA) is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Teleg ...
* Fera Science (formerly the Food and Environment Research Agency, now a company in which Defra holds a 25% stake) *
Forestry Commission The Forestry Commission is a non-ministerial government department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of the Government of the United Kingdom that deal w ...
(a
non-ministerial government department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of department of the Government of the United Kingdom that deal with matters for which direct political oversight has been judged unnecessary or inappropriate. They are headed by senior c ...
including Forest Enterprise and
Forest Research The Forestry Commission is a non-ministerial government department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of Departments of the Government of the United Kingdom, department of the Government of the United Kingdom that deal ...
) *
Joint Nature Conservation Committee The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK-wide and international nature conservation. Originally established under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, JNC ...
*
Marine Management Organisation The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is an executive non-departmental public bodyIn the United Kingdom, non-departmental public body (NDPB) is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, Treasury, the Scottish Government and the ...
(launched on 1 April 2010, incorporates the former
Marine and Fisheries Agency The Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA) was an executive agency of the Government of the United Kingdom, British government, founded on 1 October 2005, that controlled sea fishing in seas around England and Wales. Responsibilities included enforcemen ...
) * National Forest Company *
Natural England Natural England is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britai ...
(launched on 11 October 2006, formerly
English Nature English Nature was the United Kingdom government agency that promoted the conservation Conservation is the preservation or efficient use of resources, or the conservation of various quantities under physical laws. Conservation may also refer to: ...
and elements of the
Countryside Agency The Countryside Agency was a statutory body set up in England in 1999 with the task of improving the quality of the rural environment and the lives of those living in it. The Agency was formed by merging the Countryside CommissionThe Countryside Co ...
and the
Rural Development ServiceThe Rural Development Service (RDS) was formerly part of the Politics of the United Kingdom, UK Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). It ceased to exist on 1 October 2006 following the creation of Natural England. ...
) *
Ofwat , type = , nativename = , nativename_a = , nativename_r = , logo = Water Services Regulation Authority (logo).png , logo_width = 150px , logo_caption = , seal = , seal_width = , seal_caption = , picture = , picture_width = , ...
(a
non-ministerial government department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of department of the Government of the United Kingdom that deal with matters for which direct political oversight has been judged unnecessary or inappropriate. They are headed by senior c ...
formally known as the Water Services Regulation Authority) *
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegr ...
* Sea Fish Industry Authority A full list of departmental delivery and public bodies may be found on the Defra website.


Defra in the English regions

Policies for environment, food and rural affairs are delivered in the regions by Defra's executive agencies and delivery bodies, in particular
Natural England Natural England is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britai ...
, the
Rural Payments Agency The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is an executive agency of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The RPA delivers the European Union (EU) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments to farmers and traders in England, payi ...
,
Animal Health Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine Medicine is the Art (skill), art, science, and Praxis (process) , practice of caring for a patient and managing the diagnosis, prognosis, Preventive medicine, prevention, therapy, treatment or Pall ...
and the
Marine Management Organisation The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is an executive non-departmental public bodyIn the United Kingdom, non-departmental public body (NDPB) is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, Treasury, the Scottish Government and the ...
. Defra provides grant aid to the following flood and
coastal erosion Coastal erosion is the loss or displacement of land, or the long-term removal of sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering Weathering is the deterioration of rocks A roc ...
risk management operating authorities: *
Environment Agency The Environment Agency (EA) is a non-departmental public body In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Teleg ...
* Internal drainage boards *
Local authorities Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geograp ...


Aim and strategic priorities

Defra's overarching aim is sustainable development, which is defined as "development which enables all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life without compromising the quality of life of future generations." The Secretary of State wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister that he saw Defra's mission as enabling a move toward what the
World Wide Fund for Nature The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization An international non-governmental organization (INGO) is an organization which is independent of government involvement and extends the concept of a non-go ...
(WWF) has called "one planet living". Under this overarching aim, Defra has five strategic priorities: *
Climate change and energy In the 21st century, the earth's climate Climate is the long-term average of weather, typically averaged over a period of 30 years. More rigorously, it is the mean and variability of meteorological variables over a time spanning from months to ...
. *
Sustainable consumption Sustainable consumption (sometimes abbreviated to "SC") is the use of material products, energy and immaterial services in such a way that their use minimizes impacts on the environment, so that human needs can be met not only in the present but als ...
and production, including responsibility for the
National Waste StrategyThe National Waste Strategy is a policy of the Parliament of the United Kingdom as well as the devolved administrations in Scottish Parliament, Scotland, Welsh Government, Wales and Northern Ireland Executive, Northern Ireland. The development of nat ...
. * Protecting the countryside and natural resource protection. * Sustainable rural communities. * A sustainable farming and food sector including animal health and welfare. Defra Headquarters are at 2,
Marsham Street Marsham Street is a street in the City of Westminster City of Westminster is an Inner London, inner London City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough. It has been the capital city, ''de facto'', of multiple British g ...

Marsham Street
, London. It is also located at Nobel House, 17,
Smith Square Smith Square is a square in Westminster, London, 250 metres south-southwest of the Palace of Westminster. Most of its garden square, garden interior is filled by St John's, Smith Square, a English Baroque, Baroque surplus church, which has inside ...
, London.https://governmentbuildings.co.uk/properties/view/60246


See also

* Air Quality Expert Group *
Badger culling in the United Kingdom Badger culling in the United Kingdom is permitted under licence, within a set area and timescale, as a way to reduce European badger, badger numbers in the hope of controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB). Humans can catch bTB, but pu ...
* Cattle Health Initiative *
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is a government department in the Northern Ireland Executive The Northern Ireland Executive is the devolved government of Northern Ireland, an administrative branch of ...
(
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
) * Energy policy in the United Kingdom *
Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom Energy use in the United Kingdom stood at 1651 TWh (142.0 million Tonne of oil equivalent, tonnes of oil equivalent) in 2019. In 2014, the UK had an energy consumption ''per capita'' of 34.82 MWh (3.00 tonnes of oil equivalent) compared to a 2010 ...
* Environmental contract *
List of atmospheric dispersion models Atmospheric dispersion models are computer programs that use mathematical algorithm of an algorithm (Euclid's algorithm) for calculating the greatest common divisor (g.c.d.) of two numbers ''a'' and ''b'' in locations named A and B. The algorith ...
* National Bee Unit *
National Collection of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria National may refer to: Common uses * Nation or country ** Nationality – a ''national'' is a person who is subject to a nation, regardless of whether the person has full rights as a citizen ** National (distribution), a type of product or publ ...
*
New Technologies Demonstrator Programme The New Technologies Demonstrator Programme is a scheme part of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Defra's Waste Implementation Programme, New Technologies Workstream, to demonstrate advanced list of solid waste treatment technolog ...
* Nicola Spence *
Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs DepartmentThe Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) was a civil service department of the Scottish Executive. SEERAD was responsible for the following areas in Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countrie ...
*
UK Dispersion Modelling Bureau __NOTOC__ The UK Dispersion Modelling Bureau is part of the Met Office, the United Kingdom, UK's national weather and meteorological service. The meteorologists in the bureau are among the UK's leading experts in areas such: * meteorology * air qua ...
*
United Kingdom budget The Budget A budget is a financial plan In general usage, a financial plan is a comprehensive evaluation of an individual's current pay and future financial state by using current known variables to predict future income, asset values and ...
* Waste Implementation Programme


References


External links


Defra's official website

Fera - Executive agency of DEFRA

National Collection of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria - Fera

English Nature's website

JNCC's website

Defra's wiki for formulating an environmental contract

Air Quality Expert Group


Video clips


DEFRA YouTube channel
{{DEFAULTSORT:Department For Environment, Food And Rural Affairs Agricultural organisations based in England
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...
Environment of England Ministries established in 2001 2001 establishments in the United Kingdom Forestry agencies in the United Kingdom Agriculture ministries, United Kingdom