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 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.  

The roundtable was chaired by Business in the Community’s environmental director Gudrun Cartwright and included 16 other sustainability and climate leaders

Climate leadership roundtable: Are we on the right track for a net-zero economy?

The UK Government's recent move to legislate for net-zero emissions by 2050 has been widely welcomed across the green economy - but how should businesses respond? edie recently convened a group of sustainability leaders from an array of industry sectors to discuss exactly that.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The government is exploring two variants of the deposit return system

All in or on-the-go?: Green economy reacts to Defra's deposit return scheme vision

The consultation on the UK's waste management process has sparked new debates on standardised waste collections and the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regime. But the green economy wants to go "all in" on deposit return systems.

Gove chooses WWF's Tony Juniper as preferred Natural England Chair candidate

Environment secretary Michael Gove has named WWF UK's executive director for advocacy and campaigns Tony Juniper as the Government's preferred candidate for the Natural England Chair position.

Sustainability Leaders Awards 2019: Meet the Winners

Welcome to the winners report for the 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards. Organised by edie, these awards recognise excellence across the spectrum of sustainable business; from the best efficiency programmes through to product innovation, from stakeholder engagement and CSR initiatives to the people making it happen.

Roydon Common Nature Reserve

Agency protecting English environment reaches 'crisis point'

Thousands of environmentally important sites across England are coming under threat as the government body charged with their care struggles with understaffing, slashed budgets and an increasing workload.

The Office for Environmental Protection will have the power to bring legal proceedings against the government

Government urged to address funding and data concerns for post-Brexit environment watchdog

The UK Government has been urged to equip any new watchdog for future environmental standards with adequate funding and performance measuring qualities, a new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has claimed.

The watchdog will replace the power of the European Commission to take governments to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for not fulfilling their obligations

Draft Environment Bill outlines vision for UK's post-Brexit green watchdog

The UK Government has published a partial draft for its anticipated Environment Bill, outlining the powers and limitations of the nation's new post-Brexit watchdog for green standards.

Experts of the green economy sweep through the 147-page document to outline their thoughts

Resources and Waste Strategy: Green business community reacts

In the newly-launched Resources and Waste Strategy, Defra has pledged to make producers pay for the full costs of recycling or disposing the packaging they produce. But how has this commitment, alongside the Strategy's other key measures, been met by members of the green community?

Under the proposals, producers will be forced to pay full net-costs of disposal of packaging they place on the market – up from just 10% now

Major packaging reforms spearhead Resources and Waste Strategy

A huge overhaul of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system has been proposed today (18 December) in the Government's Resources & Waste Strategy, which also includes plans for separate household food waste collections and a nationwide deposit return scheme.

The statistics arrive in the same week that a Government Minister hinted the imminent Resources & Waste Strategy will “require separate food waste collections

England stays in 'doldrums' as recycling rates inch forward

England's household recycling rates have increased by 0.3% to 45.2% in 2017, the latest Government statistics have revealed.

Some developers already follow a biodiversity net-gain approach voluntarily

Defra launches call for evidence on 'biodiversity net-gain' developments

The Government is consulting on whether property developers should be required to deliver a "biodiversity net-gain" when building new housing or commercial projects.

10 ideas to drive forward your energy behaviour change strategy

This report showcases the output of edie's SPARK! event, where roundable participants shared experiences of staff engagement and behaviour change initiatives and techniques, while also exploring practical steps that businesses can implement to overcome barriers and foster the desired behaviours amongst staff.

During the Theos annual lecture in London, Gove said he would carry on as Environment Secretary “for as long as I can be useful” to Defra

Michael Gove confirms further single-use plastic measures to feature in Resources & Waste Strategy

EXCLUSIVE: Environment Secretary Michael Gove has revealed that the Government is set to unveil new restrictions on single-use plastics before the end of the year.

JLL, Interface, Burger King, Nestle, Sainsbury’s, Sodexo and European Metal Recycling have all been selected as Waste to Wealth “Champions”

UK businesses target resource productivity through 'waste to wealth' commitment

A group of more than 40 major businesses including Unilever, Sky, Iceland and PwC have signed a new "waste to wealth" commitment that aims to double the UK's resource productivity by 2030.

Gove has previously been supportive of May’s Chequers deal. Image: Chatham House

Michael Gove set to remain as Defra Secretary

Michael Gove will stay on at Defra after turning down the role of Brexit Secretary, according to reports.

Sustainability Leaders Awards 2019: 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 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards. This report outlines the who's who of sustainability excellence.

edie Explains: Onsite generation

Is onsite energy generation right for your business? What are the technology options and how do you choose the right one? This edie explains business guide, produced in association with Centrica Business Solutions, has the answers.

The agency has lost a large number of staff between 2010 and 2018

MPs condemn raid on hundreds of environment staff to work on Brexit

Hundreds of staff who protect biodiversity and enforce environmental regulations in the UK have been redeployed to work on Brexit.

Big-name retailers collaborate to spur uptake of clean domestic fuels

Several big-name retail brands including B&Q, Asda and Wickes have this week unveiled fresh measures to help consumers make the switch to low-carbon, smoke-free and energy-efficient home fuels.

By 2026, it is hoped the 250 largest UK companies across the two sectors will be added to the programme

UK business giants commit to 'world-first' Roadmap to halve food waste

Some of the UK's largest supermarkets, hospitality firms and food and drink manufacturers have committed to a "world-first" initiative from WRAP to halve food waste by measuring and acting on wastage levels across a "farm-to-fork" approach.

The Airport plans to invest in more peatland restoration projects over the next two years, and is already exploring other locations

Heathrow Airport launches peatland restoration project to offset emissions

Heathrow Airport has invested almost £100,000 into a peatland restoration project near Salford, in a move that will push the airport towards its carbon-neutrality aim by offsetting the carbon emissions of almost 64,000 passenger flights to New York.

Mission Possible: Achieving a sustainable future for RETAIL

The second in our brand-new sector insight report series provides an in-depth exploration of the steps that sustainability and energy professionals within Britain's retail industry can take to achieve a sustainable future, today.

edie Explains: Combined heat & power (CHP)

Is combined heat & power (CHP) right for your business? What are the different CHP technology options, and how do you choose the right one? This updated edie explains business guide has the answers.