Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
United Kingdom
Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs
DEFRA.svg
Agency overview
Formed 2001
Preceding agencies Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Department for the Environment
Jurisdiction United Kingdom
Headquarters Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London
51°29′44″N 0°07′34″W / 51.49556°N 0.12611°W / 51.49556; -0.12611
Agency executive Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Website
www.defra.gov.uk

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. Concordats set out agreed frameworks for co-operation between it and the Scottish Government,[1] the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales[2] and with representatives from the Northern Ireland Assembly,[3] 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.

Contents

Creation

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.[4] 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, headed by Ed Miliband.[5]

Ministers

The Defra Ministers are as follows: [6]

Minister Rank Portfolio
The Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP Secretary of State Overall responsibility, Common Agricultural Policy reform
The Rt Hon James Paice MP Minister of State Agriculture and food
Richard Benyon MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Natural environment, fisheries
Lord Taylor of Holbeach[7] Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Environmental regulation, sustainable development, waste and recycling
Key Conservative
Liberal Democrat

The Permanent Secretary is Bronwyn Hill. [8]

Responsibilities

Defra is responsible for British Government policy in the following areas[9]

Some policies apply to England alone due to devolution, while others are not devolved and therefore apply Britain as a whole.

Executive agencies

The executive agencies are:[10]

In June 2010, Caroline Spelman announced that Animal Health and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency would be merged as soon as possible.[12] The new "Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency" will come into being on 1 April 2011.

Key delivery partners

The key delivery partners are:[13]

A full list of departmental delivery and public bodies may be found on the Defra website.[15]

Defra in the English regions

A Countryside Stewardship Scheme sign near a new stile a Cratfield, Suffolk

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. Increasingly, a range of policies are communicated locally by Government Offices for English Regions.[17]

Defra provides grant aid to the following flood and coastal erosion risk management operating authorities:

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 (WWF) has called "one planet living".[18]

Under this overarching aim, Defra has five strategic priorities:[19]

  • Climate change and energy.
  • Sustainable consumption and production, including responsibility for the National Waste Strategy.
  • Protecting the countryside and natural resource protection.
  • Sustainable rural communities.
  • A sustainable farming and food sector including animal health and welfare.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Concordat between MAFF and the Scottish Executive". http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/devolve/concord.htm. 
  2. ^ "Concordat between MAFF and the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales". http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/devolve/walesconc.htm. 
  3. ^ "Devolution: Subject specific Concordat between MAFF and the Scottish Executive on fisheries". http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/devolve/fishconc.htm. 
  4. ^ "Defra departmental report". http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/deprep/2007/chapter11.pdf. 
  5. ^ Harrabin, Roger (3 October 2008). "Marrying energy demand and supply". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7651795.stm. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  6. ^ Cabinet Office List of Government Departments and Ministers: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  7. ^ New Defra Minister announced
  8. ^ New Permanent Secretary for Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, Defra
  9. ^ Cabinet Office List of Ministerial Responsibilities, July 2010
  10. ^ List of ministerial responsibilities (including Executive Agencies and Non-Ministerial Departments)
  11. ^ "Launch of Animal Health", news release by Animal Health, 2 April 2007 (from the Defra website)
  12. ^ "DEFRA Agencies shake-up", news release by DEFRA, 29 June 2010 (from the DEFRA website)
  13. ^ "Working with others: Defra's delivery partners", Chapter 6, Departmental Report 2006 (from the Defra website)
  14. ^ "Marine Management Organisation established", press release by Defra, 1 April 2010 (from the Defra website.
  15. ^ "Delivery Landscape Map". http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/delivery/landscape/map/index.htm. 
  16. ^ "New champion for the environment launches", press release by Natural England, 11 October 2006 (from the Natural England website)
  17. ^ Government Offices for the English Regions (from the Government Offices website)
  18. ^ "My priorities for Defra", David Miliband's letter to the Prime Minister, 11 July 2006
  19. ^ "Delivering the Essentials of Life: Defra’s Five Year Strategy", Annex B

External links

Video clips



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