DEFRA

Defra — Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the United Kingdom government department responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities in England. Concordats set out agreed frameworks for co-operation between it and the Scottish Executive[1] and the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales,[2] which have devolved responsibilities for these matters in their respective nations. Defra also leads for the UK at the EU on agricultural, fisheries and environment matters and in other international negotiations on sustainable development and climate change.

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 8000 core personnel, as of January 2004. The department's main building is Nobel House in Smith Square, SW1. Another significant Defra building is located in Whitehall Place and is unique because it is the only building designed by a government architect, Clifford Edmund Mee OBE ARIBA, of the then Ministry of Works in the whole Whitehall area.

DEFRA's criteria for funding coastal defences;

Urgency - If the land is sure to fall within 5 years.

Economics - How worthwhile the site is.

Priority - Rural or urban area, property, special protection etc.

Ministers

After the 2005 General Election, the Ministry was restructured, with one fewer Ministers of State and one further Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State but this reverted after a reshuffle in May 2006. The current make-up of the department's ministers is[3]:

Permanent Secretary

Helen Ghosh is the current Permanent Secretary. The Permanent Secretary is Head of the Department and also Principal Accounting Officer. She has personal responsibility for the overall organisation, management and staffing of the Department and for Department-wide procedures in financial and other matters.

Executive agencies

The executive agencies are:[4]

Key delivery partners

The key delivery partners are:[6] A full list of departmental delivery and public bodies may be found on the Defra website.[8]

Defra in the 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, the Marine and Fisheries Agency and the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate. Increasingly, a range of policies are communicated locally by Government Offices for English Regions.[9]

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".[10]

Under this overarching aim, Defra has five strategic priorities:[11]
  • Climate change and energy.
  • Sustainable consumption and production.
  • Protecting the countryside and natural resource protection.
  • Sustainable rural communities.
  • A sustainable farming and food sector including animal health and welfare.

Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) programme

Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 and Part III of the Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 placed a statutory duty on all local authorities throughout the UK to periodically review and assess air quality within their area. This includes consideration of current and likely future air quality against air quality objectives, established for the protection of human health, set out in the Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (AQS). Atmospheric dispersion modelling plays a key role in the review and assessment process.

Local authorities work towards achieving the AQS objectives that have been prescribed in regulation through the Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) program. The LAQM program is under the aegis of Defra. To assist and support the local authorities in their review and assessment work, Defra issued an LAQM Technical Guidance document in February 2003.[12]

Defra also retained the services of the Casella Stanger consultancy company (now a part of the Bureau Veritas Group) to establish and manage a Dispersion Modelling Helpdesk[13] to further support the local authorities in their work.

See also

External links

References

1. ^ Concordat between MAFF and the Scottish Executive
2. ^ Concordat between MAFF and the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales
3. ^ Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Ministers
4. ^ "Defra's Executive Agencies", Chapter 5, Departmental Report 2006 (from the Defra website)
5. ^ "Launch of Animal Health", news release by Animal Health, 2 April 2007 (from the Defra website)
6. ^ "Working with others: Defra's delivery partners", Chapter 6, Departmental Report 2006 (from the Defra website)
7. ^ "New champion for the environment launches", press release by Natural England, 11 October 2006 (from the Natural England website)
8. ^ Delivery Landscape Map
9. ^ Government Offices for the English Regions (from the Government Offices website)
10. ^ "My priorities for Defra", David Miliband's letter to the Prime Minister, 11 July 2006
11. ^ "Delivering the Essentials of Life: Defra’s Five Year Strategy", Annex B
12. ^ Technical Guidance, LAQM.TG (03)
13. ^ Defra Dispersion Modelling Helpdesk
Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom contains a number of Ministers and Secretaries of State. These members of the Cabinet are supported by civil servants in Ministerial Departments.
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natural environment, commonly referred to simply as the environment, is a term that comprises all living and non-living things that occur naturally on Earth or some part of it (e.g. the natural environment in a country).
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Agriculture (from Agri Latin for ager ("a field"), and culture, from the Latin cultura "cultivation" in the strict sense of "tillage of the soil". A literal reading of the English word yields "tillage of the soil of a field".
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A fishery (plural: fisheries) is an organized effort by humans to catch fish or other aquatic species, an activity known as fishing. Generally, a fishery exists for the purpose of providing human food, although other aims are possible (such as sport or recreational
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No official anthem specific to England — the anthem of the United Kingdom is "God Save the Queen".
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Scottish Government (SG) (Scottish Gaelic: Riaghaltas na h-Alba) is the executive arm of government of Scotland. It was established in 1999 as the Scottish Executive
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The National Assembly for Wales (Welsh: Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru) is a devolved assembly with power to make legislation in Wales.
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Margaret Mary Beckett (née Jackson; born 15 January 1943) is a British Labour politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for Derby South. She served in government under Tony Blair, in the office of Foreign Secretary.
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The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom in the spring and summer of 2001 caused a crisis in British agriculture and tourism. This epizootic saw 2,000 cases of the disease in farms in most of the British countryside.
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The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005. The Labour Party under Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, with a reduced House of Commons overall majority of 66.

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A Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, in the United Kingdom government structure, is a minister who is junior to a Minister of State who is in turn junior to a Secretary of State.
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The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is a UK cabinet-level position in charge of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the successor to the positions of Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Secretary of State for the
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