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

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The recommendation report was published following discussion with environment secretary Michael Gove, in December last year

Packaging industry calls for policy reform to boost plastics recycling

A host of UK packaging organisations have called for more recycling collection points, tax reliefs for recycled content and a universal list of acceptable materials as part of a desired regulation reform to make it easier for consumers to recycle packaging waste.

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The Prime Minister called on other Commonwealth nations to join the fight against plastic pollution, by signing up to a newly-formed Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance

Theresa May outlines plan to ban plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that a consultation will take place later this year to prepare England for a national ban on plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds.

Around 600,000 straws will be converted to home compostable material as a result

Waitrose builds on plastics pledge by switching to paper straws in cafes

Waitrose has revealed it will build on a commitment to stop selling packs of single-use plastics straws later this year, by replacing all plastic straws used in its onsite cafes with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper alternatives.

MPs raise concerns about a potential staff shortage at Defra, which has suffered from severe job losses in the past eight years

Gove confirms Defra set for 70 Brexit workstreams

MPs have raised concerns about Defra's capability to deliver environmental protections amid an escalating amount of resources dedicated to Brexit-related tasks.

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The Voluntary and Economic Incentives working group will report to ministers “shortly” with findings from a call to evidence on a deposit scheme

Government 'dragging its feet' over deposit return scheme for plastics, MPs claim

The UK Government is exploring how changes to packaging producer responsibilities and a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and containers would be implemented in the UK, but the lack of action has been described as "unacceptable" by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC).

There is a very real chance that England, Scotland and Northern Ireland could fail to meet a targeted 50% recycling rate for 2020

Plastics and packaging: The UK's 'waste mountain' in charts

Eighteen environmental groups have urged the UK Government to deal with a growing "packaging waste mountain" by setting legally binding targets, following new waste and recycling figures published by Defra. Here, edie provides a snapshot of the UK's "waste mountain".

The UK’s own environment officials estimated that meeting ambitious recycling targets would bring benefits totalling billions of pounds

UK opposes strong EU recycling targets despite plastics pledge

The UK government is opposing strong new recycling targets across the EU despite its recent pledge to develop "ambitious new future targets and milestones", confidential documents have revealed.

The bill does not require that current environmental standards are maintained after Brexit, nor does it contain a general requirement that the public should be consulted on potentially significant changes

Brexit bill may have broken international environment law, says UN

The British government may have breached a major "environmental democracy" law by failing to consult the public when drawing up Brexit legislation.

It is estimated that between 80,000 and 219,000 tonnes of microplastics enter the marine environment across Europe per year

'More needs to be done' as microbeads ban comes into force

A ban on the manufacture of certain products containing plastic microbeads has today (9 January) entered into force, although MPs and green groups have reiterated that more action is needed to tackle the global problem of plastic waste.

Separate figures uncovered by the Lib Dems have revealed the House of Commons itself is also failing to get to grips with disposable cup waste, using almost 4m disposable cups in the past five years

UK environment department using 1,400 disposable coffee cups a day

More than 2.5m disposable cups have been purchased by the UK's environment department for use in its restaurants and cafes over the past five years - equivalent to nearly 1,400 a day.

Hombase's move has been welcomed by Friends of the Earth, which has received significant public backing for its campaign to ban neonics from garden plants

Homebase pledges ban on bee-harming chemicals amid green group pressure

Retail giant Homebase has committed to phase out toxic pesticides from its garden plant range after months of heavy pressure from green campaigners.

Defra claims that ratification of the Montreal Protocol will result in a reduction equivalent to around 44 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in the UK alone

UK ratifies the Kigali amendment on HFCs

The UK has become one of the first nations to ratify the landmark Kigali Agreement to phase down harmful hydrofluorocarbon greenhouse gases (HFCs) commonly found in appliances such as air conditioning units and refrigerators.

The consultation will call on organisations to provide evidence of whether devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland want to embark on individual approaches

Defra to launch consultation on independent body for environmental standards

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed that an independent body to hold the Government to account over environmental standards after the UK has left the European Union will be established following a consultation early next year.

Renewable energy in the supply chain

This new report focuses on the opportunity for companies to amplify their carbon reduction efforts by driving renewables through their supply chains. Given how easy it is to choose renewable electricity in the UK, businesses could be doing more to engage with their suppliers.

Evidence submitted will be examined by the Government’s working group which includes corporate giants such as Coca-Cola and Tesco

Michael Gove seeks evidence on plastic bottle deposit scheme

Defra Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed he will work with businesses to see how a drinks container deposit return scheme could work in England.

Towards a sustainable economy

CISL and its recently formed Rewiring the Economy Inquiry Group published its latest report ‘Towards a sustainable economy’, to identify new business approaches that can drive progress towards the SDGs.

Future Utilities Manager

New research from leading business energy consultancy Inenco has provided insight into how the role of the energy manager will change by 2030, and has highlighted the level of investment needed.

Plants at a Homebase garden centre in the East Sussex area contained traces of two of three banned substances, despite being labelled as 'bee-friendly'

Homebase caught in dispute over use of bee-harming pesticides

Homebase has clashed with Friends of the Earth after claims the garden retailer has failed to publicly commit to end the use and sale of restricted pesticides in its plant ranges.

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Plastic bag charge: 10 fascinating facts about the scheme's sustainability success

With new Government figures revealing an 83% reduction in single-use carrier bag sales since the instruction of a 5p charge in England, edie delves deep into the data to bring you 10 facts and statistics that you probably didn't know about the scheme and its effects.

Gove used his speech at WWF’s Living Planet Centre to claim that the UK can “develop global gold standard policies” on environmental management. Image Defra UK twitter

Michael Gove vows to implement 'gold standard' policies as part of a green Brexit

Environment Secretary Michael Gove believes that Brexit has given the UK a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to become global leaders on agricultural management, as part of a vow to deliver a "green" Brexit.

Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove gave the opening address at a summer reception held in London by environmental think tank Green Alliance

Michael Gove heralds Brexit opportunity to reshape environment policy

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has pledged to use Britain's exit from the EU as an opportunity to redevelop the green policies surrounding the nation's farming and fishing industries in a way that "puts the environment first".

Angela Smith MP (left) and Baroness Parminter have raised concerns about the Government's delay in publishing the 25-Year Environment Plan

Has Defra's environment plan been 'kicked into the long grass'?

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The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaking at the launch of a consultation into air quality last year. Photo: Sadiq Khan/Facebook

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The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has requested an urgent meeting with the new environment secretary, Michael Gove, to urge him to get a grip on Britain's "life and death" air pollution crisis.