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.
|Headquarters||2 Marsham Street, London|
|Annual budget||£2.2 billion (current) & £400 million (capital) for 2011-12|
Defra also leads for the 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 was created on 3 October 2008 to take over the last responsibility; later transferred to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy following Theresa May's appointment as Prime Minister in July 2016.
The department 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.
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. George Eustice MP||Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs||Strategy and overall responsibility for departmental policy; Budget and finances; Legislative programme; Emergencies; international relations.|
|The Rt Hon. The Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park||Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment (jointly with FCDO)||House of Lords Minister for Environment, including Environment Bill; international climate change, environment and conservation, biodiversity; oceans; Oceania; Blue Belt; COVID-19 issues related to animal welfare; agri-food trade (for negotiations); forestry policy: domestic and international; International Whaling Commission; international oceans; illegal wildlife trade; animal welfare; green recovery; trade including standards, market access and exports, geographical indicators; Ministerial lead for Forestry Commission.|
|The Hon. Victoria Prentis MP||Minister of State for Farming, Fisheries and Food||Overall lead Minister for the agri-food chain, and lead Minister for the Union and Levelling Up relating to Defra issues; fisheries; farming; food; trade and pesticides.|
|The Rt Hon. The Lord Benyon||Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity||All Defra parliamentary business in the House of Lords; Rural affairs, namely rural productivity and connectivity, rural life opportunities (childcare, education, skills and health); Animal health and traceability; Bee health and National Pollinator Strategy; Biosecurity, including endemic and exotic plant and animal disease, invasive alien species; Landscapes, including National Parks and AONBs; Access including rights of way and coastal paths; Animal and plant health; Domestic green finance and finance markets for nature and the environment; Ministerial lead for RBG Kew, Animal and Plant Health Agency, Veterinary Medicines Directorate and Animal Health and Welfare Board for England.|
|Rebecca Pow MP||Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Nature Recovery and the Domestic Environment||Domestic natural environment; 25 Year Environment Plan; Environment Bill; floods and water; Resource and environmental management (including waste, air quality, chemicals, litter); Commercial projects including Covent Garden Market and waste PFI projects; Ministerial lead for Environment Agency and Natural England; Commons Minister for water, international environment, forestry and rural.|
|Jo Churchill MP||Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Agri-Innovation and Climate Adaption||Science and innovation, including gene editing and agri-food innovation; Defra delivery of Net Zero; Delivery of climate change adaptation across government; Environmental management and regulation (chemicals, waste, air quality); Commercial projects; Ministerial lead for COVID-19 relating to Defra issues; Commons Minister for animal welfare, including animal welfare legislation.|
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'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: