Defra

DEFINITION: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the UK Government department responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards in the standards, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities in the UK.

See also: BEIS

Related items

 edie rounds up the commentary on key areas of the Environment Bill

'A much-need overhaul': Green groups react to revamped Environment Bill

Green groups have welcomed the reintroduction of the Government's 'gold standard' Environment Bill today (30 January), noting that it could be "truly transformative" if it is able to set out legal guarantees on the delivery of a raft of new policy commitments.

The Bill confirms that the OEP will cover all climate change legislation, including the commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050

UK Government's 'gold standard' Environment Bill reintroduced

The UK Government's long-awaited Environment Bill has finally been reintroduced to Parliament, outlining powers to stop the exports of plastic waste to developing countries, and revamped governance systems on clean air and biodiversity and two-yearly reviews to update the Bill if required.

The Bill was initiailly introduced in October 2018, then delayed over the Brexit process. Image: Brian Forbes CC BY 2.0 

Agriculture Bill introduced, outlining sweeping post-Brexit environmental measures

The Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs' (Defra) Agriculture Bill has been introduced today (16 January), confirming the Government's plans for rewarding farmers that make environmental improvements and safeguarding green standards post-Brexit.

Clockwise from top left: Professor James Yu, Barbara Vest, Professor Philip Jones and Rachel Kyte are among the green economy figures on this year's New Year honour list 

New Years Honours 2020: The sustainability champions on the Queen's list

The 2020 New Year Honours list has recognised the outstanding achievements of more than 90 figures across the UK's environmental sphere, including green business figures, policy experts and scientists working to combat climate change and marine pollution.

Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020: Meet the Finalists

After a record-breaking year of entries, the judges have convened, decisions have been made and edie is proud to unveil the well-deserved finalists for the 2020 Sustainability Leaders Awards. This report outlines the who's who of sustainability excellence.

8 steps for overcoming the behavioural change challenge

During the SPARK 2.0 event, energy and sustainability professionals discussed the barriers to behaviour change and how businesses could harness the wider awareness of the climate strikes to engage all staff members on the need to manage energy use.

The 4 big ideas for net-zero carbon strategies

Experts across energy management came together at edie’s SPARK! 2.0 event to discuss the role that strategy could play in the delivery of net-zero carbon targets.

edie brings you three exclusive interviews across public, private and specialist firms

Sustainable Business Covered podcast: Green university leagues and energy storage

Episode 76 of edie's Sustainable Business Covered podcast features interviews with the University of Gloucestershire's director of sustainability Dr Alex, Ryan on topping a green university league, EDF Energy on a new storage master series as well as a chat with company Xerox's vice president for environment, health, safety and sustainability Wendi Latko.

Pictured: Roydon Common Nature Reserve 

UK Government's spending on trees 'has plummeted by £20m since 2015'

The UK Government spent almost £20m less on tree planting in the financial year 2017-18 than it did in 2014-15, according to an analysis of official figures by Friends of the Earth (FotE).

Defra’s chief digital and information officer Christopher Howes (left) with representatives from Unicef UK, UNEP, WWF and Axelos. Image: Sarah George

E-sustainability Alliance: Defra launches new coalition championing green IT

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a new initiative bringing together businesses, NGOs and policymakers in a joint ambition to making the UK's information technology (IT) sector more sustainable.

The Government has unveiled how it plans to leave the environment in a better state 

Deposit return schemes and biodiversity net-gain: Raft of new policies unveiled in Environment Bill

The UK Government has launched its new governance system on issues covering clean air, waste management and plastics pollution, natural capital approaches and water stewardship, in the form of the long-awaited Environment Bill. 

Mission Possible: Achieving a net-zero carbon future for manufacturing

As the movement towards net-zero carbon takes hold across the commercial sector, this fresh insight report looks at how manufacturing companies are driving forward their own goals.

Business Energy Barometer: August - September 2019

edie's second Business Energy Barometer report maps out the key energy drivers, challenges and opportunities facing UK businesses, based on an in-depth survey of energy managers across the country in the past quarterly period.

Green GB Week delayed due to Brexit

Green GB and NI Week is due to be delayed until next year as a result of the current situation regarding the UK's exit from the European Union.

The UK's national food policy frameworks have not undergone a major update for 75+ years

Defra takes first step towards sustainable food system transformation

The Department for Food, the Environment and Rurual Affairs (Defra) has opened the first public consultation on its upcoming National Food Strategy, which aims address issues of environmental sustainability and nutrition across the food value chain.

Photo: ToryScot [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)] 

Lord Ian Duncan appointed to BEIS, completing Department's new ministerial line-up

Lord Ian Duncan has been appointed as the UK's Minister for Climate Change, completing the new line-up at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The guide is bookended by an insightful foreword from Green Alliance's Libby Peake, and an industry viewpoint penned by Helistrat's chief executive Harvey Laud

Resources & Waste Strategy: edie publishes concise business guide to Government document

edie has today (14 August) published a free guide for sustainability and environmental professionals which breaks down everything they need to know about the UK Government's Resources & Waste Strategy into a single, easy-to-read document.

Pictured: Castleshaw Upper Reservoir, Oldham 

Water resources infrastructure policy due this Autumn

The government has completed a consultation period and is preparing to deliver its National Policy Statement (NPS) for Water Resources Infrastructure in the Autumn.

The call to action is being co-ordinated by the Campaign for Freedom of Information

Post-Brexit environment watchdog must be transparent, green groups urge

A coalition of almost 40 environmental organisations including Greenpeace, WWF UK and ClientEarth is calling for the Draft Environment Bill to be altered, to ensure that the public can request disclosure from the UK's post-Brexit watchdog.

Eustice is a former farmer and the only Cornish MP to be granted a government position so far by Johnson. Image: UK Parliament 

George Eustice re-appointed to Defra by Boris Johnson

George Eustice MP has been given back his former role as Agriculture Minister by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after leaving the post in February.

The Green Brexit Matrix: What do the different outcomes mean for environmental policy?

With Boris Johnson entering number 10 as the new Prime Minister, the likelihood of a no deal Brexit has increased. This download, originally published in April, explores the potential exit scenarios and the impacts they will have on UK sustainability, energy and environment policy.

Theresa Villiers appears to be an advocate for climate action, strong environmental policies and low-carbon initiatives. Photo: Nikki Powell [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Cabinet reshuffle: Theresa Villiers replaces Michael Gove as Environment Secretary

Theresa Villiers last night (24 July) returned to Government by taking over from Michael Gove as UK Environment Secretary, as part of a radical change of cabinet from new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.  

edie recaps a week of major policy announcement 

CCS, food waste and deposit return schemes: Recapping a week of major green policy announcements

As Boris Johnson settles into his first day as the UK Prime Minister, Defra, the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have released a flurry of documents to strengthen approaches to environmental regulation, energy policy and packaging production.

The Environment Secretary will also use today’s speech to build on the swelling notion of addressing the climate emergency Image: Chatham House

Michael Gove backs comprehensive 'all-in' deposit return system for plastics

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has publicly backed a deposit return system for plastic containers, irrespective of size, while also warning that time is running out to avert the climate emergency.

The analysis was conducted using Defra’s own impact assessments

Deposit return system for plastics could generate £2bn for UK economy

An "all-in" deposit return system that accounted for all types of drinks cans and bottles in the UK could generate up to £2bn for the economy over a 10-year period, compared to £250m for an "on-the-go" system that collected less.

Queen's Birthday Honours: The sustainability champions who made the 2019 list

The Queen's 2019 Birthday Honours list has recognised the outstanding achievements of a number of senior figures across the UK's sustainability and energy sectors.

Webinar: Smart Energy Technologies for Sustainability and Resilience

Businesses across the UK are feeling the sting of rising energy costs, along with Governmental pressures to decarbonise to meet carbon reduction goals. This had led many to seek out effective and affordable methods of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Conservationists say the protection will contribute to the stopping of marine-damaging activities

UK creates 'blue belt' of marine protected areas twice England's size

An area nearly twice the size of England will become a "blue belt" of protected waters after the government created 41 new marine conservation zones.

Webinar: Scope 3 emissions and science-based targets: Closing the reporting gap

This one-hour webinar, hosted in association with Carbon Credentials, will help businesses overcome the challenge of calculating, reporting and ultimately reducing ‘Scope 3' supply chain emissions on the path to achieving approved science-based targets.

The past three years have seen climate change and plastics sky-rocket up the UK's policy agenda. Photo Flickr EU2017EE Estonian Presidency

Theresa May's green policy legacy: Environmental leader or lukewarm laggard?

After weeks of calls to resign from all sides of the House, Theresa May has today (24 May) confirmed that she will step down as Prime Minister next month after three years in power, opening the race for the next Conservative Party leader. Amid tabloid claims that her legacy will be solely based on failing to deliver Brexit, edie instead explores her impact on green policy.

Webinar: SDG Power Hour: Aligning your sustainability strategy with the Global Goals

This webinar, brought to you in association with Centrica Business Solutions, will showcase specific examples of how businesses have aligned ambitions and launched new projects tailored towards achieving some or all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Gove announces plans for a 'shadow watchdog' in the event of a no deal Brexit

Gove announces 'shadow watchdog' for environmental standards in event of no-deal Brexit

Environment secretary Michael Gove has announced plans for a "distinguished" lawyer to lead a shadow watchdog to oversee environmental protection in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Of the 3,980+ people directly employed by Defra, around 2,700 have been transferred to

Two-thirds of Defra staff shifted from environmental duties onto Brexit preparations

More than two-thirds of the Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs' (Defra) employees have been taken out of their key roles and tasked with delivering Brexit, new official Government figures have revealed.

How to produce an engaging sustainability report: Seven steps to success

Sustainability reporting has evolved from a niche practice to a mainstream aspect of corporate governance. The modern sustainability report is a vital tool to ENGAGE with shareholders, employees, stakeholders and, increasingly, consumers.

Emma serves on a number of boards and advisory committees which include:
ShareAction, Menhaden Capital, The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project and the Green Finance Institute

Emma Howard Boyd reappointed as Environment Agency chair

Emma Howard Boyd has been reappointed as the chair of the Environment Agency (EA) by Secretary of State Michael Gove, with her second term set to run until September 2022.

A 10-week Defra consultation exploring whether property developers should be required to deliver a

Built environment sector calls for biodiversity focus in upcoming Environment Bill

A group of UK built environment businesses have penned a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, calling on future legislation to boost economic growth through restorative planning that benefits the environment.

In November last year, Environment Secretary Michael Gove dismissed reports that the UK will run out of drinking water if there is no Brexit deal

Water sector works with Defra to prepare for 'no deal' Brexit

The government has been "working closely" with water companies to prepare for all scenarios of the UK's exit from the European Union, including a "no deal" Brexit.

Defra's George Eustice resigns over possible Article 50 delay

Agriculture Minister George Eustice has resigned today (28 February) over Brexit.