The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the government department responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Concordats 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 Britain at the EU on agricultural, fisheries and environment matters and in other international negotiations on sustainable development and climate change, although a new Department of Energy and Climate Change was created on 3 October 2008 to take over the last responsibility.
It was formed in June 2001, under the leadership of Margaret Beckett, when the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (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 department was created after the perceived failure of MAFF, to deal adequately with an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease. The Department had about 9,000 core personnel, as of January 2008[update]. The Department's main building is Nobel House on Smith Square, SW1.
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, then headed by Ed Miliband.
|The Rt Hon. Michael Gove MP||Secretary of State||Strategy and overall responsibility for departmental policy; Budget and finances; Legislative programme; Emergencies; EU and international relations; Environment Agency and Natural England|
|George Eustice MP||Minister of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment||Food and farming, animal health and welfare, marine and fisheries, science and innovation, better regulation, lead responsibility for the Rural Payments Agency, FERA, Cefas and the Animal and Plant Health Agency, deputy for the Secretary of State on Agriculture and Fisheries Council|
|Therese Coffey MP||Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Life Opportunities||Natural environment, floods and water, resource and environmental management, rural affairs, lead responsibility for the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Forestry Commission, deputy for the Secretary of State on Environment Council|
|Lord Gardiner of Kimble||Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs||Biosecurity strategy, commercial projects, landscape, climate change adaptation|
Shadow ministers portfolios can differ from government departments therefore overlap.
Defra is responsible for British Government policy in the following areas
The department's key delivery partners are:
A full list of departmental delivery and public bodies may be found on the Defra website.
Policies for environment, food and rural affairs are delivered in the regions by Defra's executive agencies and delivery bodies, in particular Natural England, the Rural Payments Agency, Animal Health and the Marine Management Organisation.
Defra provides grant aid to the following flood and coastal erosion risk management operating authorities:
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 (WWF) has called "one planet living".
Under this overarching aim, Defra has five strategic priorities: