- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs
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
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, the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales and with representatives from the Northern Ireland Assembly, 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, headed by Ed Miliband.
The Defra Ministers are as follows: 
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 Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Environmental regulation, sustainable development, waste and recycling Key Conservative Liberal Democrat
Defra is responsible for British Government policy in the following areas
- Air quality
- Animal health and welfare
- Chemicals and pesticides
- Climate Change Adaptation
- Inland waterways
- Land management
- Marine policy
- National parks
- Plant health
- Rural development
- Sustainable development
- Waste management
- Water management
- Animal Health (launched on 2 April 2007), formerly the State Veterinary Service
- Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
- Forest Research
- Forest Enterprise
- Food and Environment Research Agency (until April 2009 was called the Central Science Laboratory)
- Rural Payments Agency
- Veterinary Laboratories Agency
- Veterinary Medicines Directorate
In June 2010, Caroline Spelman announced that Animal Health and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency would be merged as soon as possible. The new "Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency" will come into being on 1 April 2011.
Key delivery partners
The key delivery partners are:
- British Waterways
- Environment Agency
- Forestry Commission
- Marine Management Organisation (launched on 1 April 2010, incorporates the former Marine and Fisheries Agency)
A full list of departmental delivery and public bodies may be found on the Defra website.
- Natural England (launched on 11 October 2006), formerly English Nature and elements of the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service.
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, 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.
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".
Under this overarching aim, Defra has five strategic priorities:
- 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.
- Cattle Health Initiative
- Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Northern Ireland)
- Energy policy in the United Kingdom
- Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom
- Environmental contract
- List of atmospheric dispersion models
- National Bee Unit
- National Collection of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria
- New Technologies Demonstrator Programme
- Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department
- UK Dispersion Modelling Bureau
- United Kingdom budget
- Waste Implementation Programme
- ^ "Concordat between MAFF and the Scottish Executive". http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/devolve/concord.htm.
- ^ "Concordat between MAFF and the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales". http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/devolve/walesconc.htm.
- ^ "Devolution: Subject specific Concordat between MAFF and the Scottish Executive on fisheries". http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/devolve/fishconc.htm.
- ^ "Defra departmental report". http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/deprep/2007/chapter11.pdf.
- ^ 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.
- ^ Cabinet Office List of Government Departments and Ministers: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- ^ New Defra Minister announced
- ^ New Permanent Secretary for Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, Defra
- ^ Cabinet Office List of Ministerial Responsibilities, July 2010
- ^ List of ministerial responsibilities (including Executive Agencies and Non-Ministerial Departments)
- ^ "Launch of Animal Health", news release by Animal Health, 2 April 2007 (from the Defra website)
- ^ "DEFRA Agencies shake-up", news release by DEFRA, 29 June 2010 (from the DEFRA website)
- ^ "Working with others: Defra's delivery partners", Chapter 6, Departmental Report 2006 (from the Defra website)
- ^ "Marine Management Organisation established", press release by Defra, 1 April 2010 (from the Defra website.
- ^ "Delivery Landscape Map". http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/delivery/landscape/map/index.htm.
- ^ "New champion for the environment launches", press release by Natural England, 11 October 2006 (from the Natural England website)
- ^ Government Offices for the English Regions (from the Government Offices website)
- ^ "My priorities for Defra", David Miliband's letter to the Prime Minister, 11 July 2006
- ^ "Delivering the Essentials of Life: Defra’s Five Year Strategy", Annex B
- 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
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom Headquarters: Nobel House, Smith Square MinistersSecretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs · Minister of State for Food, Farming and the Environment · Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Natural and Marine Environment · Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs Executive agencies Non-departmental public bodiesBritish Potato Council · Gangmasters Licensing Authority · Joint Nature Conservation Committee · Commission for Rural Communities · Consumer Council for Water · Marine Management Organisation · Meat and Livestock Commission · Natural England · Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew · Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution · Sustainable Development Commission · Sea Fish Industry Authority Agriculture in the United Kingdom Economy of the United Kingdom · Agriculture Companies Conservation Government
and regulationAgricultural Land Classification · Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (Potato Council) · Animal Health · British Cattle Movement Service · The Country Code · Crown Estate · Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Northern Ireland) · Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs · Institute for Animal Health · Legislation · Marine Management Organisation · Pesticides Safety Directorate · Rights of way in Scotland · Rural Development Council · Rural Payments Agency · Scottish Government Enterprise and Environment Directorate · Single Payment Scheme · Veterinary Laboratories Agency
History1967 foot-and-mouth outbreak · 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak · 2007 foot-and-mouth outbreak · Agricultural Revolution · British timber trade · Celtic field · Corn Laws · Diggers · Dutch barn · Enclosure · Haughley Experiment · Highland Clearances · Highland Potato Famine · Lowland Clearances · Napier Commission · Rationing · Run rig · Rural Reconstruction Association · Scottish Agricultural Revolution · Swing Riots · Victory garden · Women's Land Army Nations and regionsEnglandNorthern IrelandFarmersWales Non-govermental
organisationsAgriculture museums (Museum of English Rural Life · National Museum of Rural Life) · Agricultural universities and colleges (Royal Agricultural College · Scottish Agricultural College) · British Egg Industry Council · British Poultry Council · Country Land and Business Association · Farmers' unions (Farmers' Union of Wales · National Farmers Union · National Farmers Union of Scotland · Ulster Farmers' Union) · Fresh Start Initiative · Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences · James Hutton Institute · Meat and Livestock Commission · National Non-Food Crops Centre · Nottingham Arabidopsis Stock Centre · Rare Breeds Survival Trust · Rothamsted Experimental Station · Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland · Soil Association · Tenant Farmers Association
Sectors Other Category · Commons Energy in the United Kingdom Companies Coal Oil and gas Integrated Distribution and
productionAfren1 · BHP Billiton · Cairn Energy1 · Centrica · Chevron UK2 · Dana Petroleum · Desire Petroleum1 · Emerald Energy1 · EnQuest · Essar Energy · Falkland Oil and Gas1 · Hardy Oil and Gas1 · JKX Oil & Gas1 · Melrose Resources1 · Perenco · Premier Oil · Regal Petroleum1 · Rockhopper Exploration1 · Salamander Energy1 · SOCO International1 · Star Energy · Statoil UK2 · Total UK2 · Tullow Oil · Xtract Energy
Support Utilities Generation and
Supply Distribution Electricity Gas Transmission Electricity Gas Other 1Headquarters and/or registered office in the UK but no applicable energy operations within the country 2Ultimate parent company is not UK-based 3Integrated in the United States, no generation or supply activities in the UK Energy sources Coal ElectricityAssociation of Electricity Producers · BritNed · East–West Interconnector · Energy switching services · Economy 7 · Economy 10 · Electricity billing (Data collector · Meter operator · Meter Point Administration Number · Meter serial number) · Green electricity · HVDC Cross-Channel · HVDC Moyle · HVDC Norway–UK · Isle of Man to England Interconnector · National Grid (Control of the National Grid · National Grid Reserve Service · Registered power zone · TV pickup) · New Electricity Trading Arrangements · Power stations · Timeline of the electricity supply industry Nuclear Oil and gasBBL Pipeline · Dash for Gas · Forties pipeline system · Fuel protests · Gas infrastructure · Greenhouse gas emissions · Hydrocarbon oil duty · National Transmission System · Natural gas fields · Natural gas-fired power stations · North Sea oil · Oil & Gas UK · Oil fields · Oil-fired power stations · Oil infrastructure · Oil refineries · Petroleum revenue tax Renewables Biofuels GeothermalGeothermal power stations HydroelectricityHydroelectric power stations · Severn Barrage · Wave farms Solar power Wind power Government and regulation OrganisationsThe Carbon Trust · Cenex · Committee on Climate Change · Consumer Focus · Department of Energy and Climate Change · Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs · Energy Saving Trust · Environment Agency · GTMA · National Nuclear Laboratory · Nuclear Decommissioning Authority · Nuclear Liabilities Fund · Office of Gas and Electricity Markets · Office for Nuclear Regulation · Sustainable Development Commission Legislation and
initiativesCarbon Emission Reduction Target · Climate Change Act 2008 · Climate Change Agreement · Climate Change Levy · Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 · CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme · Display Energy Certificate · Energy Performance Certificate · Fossil Fuel Levy · Low Carbon Building Programme · National Industrial Symbiosis Programme · Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation · Planning Act 2008 · Renewable Heat Incentive · Renewables Obligation · United Kingdom Climate Change Programme
Non-governmental organisations Charities and
Research Energy conservationAssociation for the Conservation of Energy · British Energy Efficiency Federation · Close the Door campaign · Code for Sustainable Homes · Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme · EcoHomes · Energy efficiency in British housing · Energy Saving Trust (Energy Saving Trust Recommended) · Greenhouse gas emissions · HTB · National Home Energy Rating Category · Commons
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