About Defra

About Defra

Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) is a UK Government Department.

The overarching challenge for Defra is to enable everyone to live within our environmental means. This is most clearly exemplified by the need to:

  • tackle climate change internationally and through domestic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and
  • secure a healthy, resilient, productive and diverse natural environment.

Central to achieving these goals will be reducing the environmental impact of the lifestyles we lead, the products that the country’s economy produces and consumes, and the waste we produce. We also need to reduce the global impact of our food production and consumption, improving the contribution that a profitable and competitive farming industry in this country can make to our environment.

These challenges can only be met by a respected department, making it vital that we focus on delivering to the needs of our many customers efficiently and effectively. Defra will do this while maintaining high levels of protection of human, animal, and plant health and ensuring the economy is resilient to risks such as those from flooding, disruption to food or water supply and the consequences of a chemical, biological or nuclear incident.  Defra is also responsible for enabling adaptation to the inevitable impacts of climate change.

Defra champions Sustainable Development, helping Government as a whole to deliver economic, social and environmental sustainability. Defra is also the focal point for rural policy, supporting strong rural communities and ensuring that dispersed rural needs are reflected in social and place-based policies across Government. The Department has a strong international dimension, with a critical role in both European Union and global policy making.

Who are we? - learn about Defra's Ministers and how the Department is managed and organised.

What do we do? - Defra’s strategy has been formalised in the current Comprehensive Spending Review, giving rise to our new set of Public Service Agreements and Departmental Strategic Objectives. Policy is developed by the core Department and delivered through Defra's delivery partners, both working together using our partnership model

How do we work? - find out more about our business planning, Departmental report and Autumn performance report, procurement and accounting procedures.

International events - Defra plays an important role globally as well as within the UK. Find out more about our work towards the EU Presidency, G8 Presidency and other international events.

Useful links


Further information is available on our Help page about downloading or reading Adobe Acrobat PDF documents.

Page last modified: 20 December 2007

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs