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Consultation exercises normally begin with publication of a consultation paper in which Defra invites comment from stakeholders on a policy issue, legislative or other proposal.

We have reorganised our consultations by grouping them into the following main areas:

NOTE: we are no longer retaining consultations older than one year within this section of the website - list of consultations no longer retained on this website.

Background - the consultation process

Consultations are carried out in accordance with the Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Written Consultation. The consultation period will normally last a minimum of 12 weeks, although there are circumstances in which shorter consultations will be unavoidable (e.g. where tight timescales are dictated by EU processes). A draft Regulatory Impact Assessment will be included as part of the consultation where proposals may create burdens for business - for further information go to:

Once the deadline has passed, the consultation closes, and the comments received are carefully considered by Defra in developing its policies, plans for legislation etc. After this stage, a summary of consultation responses should be made publicly available on the Defra website.

Defra intends to make comments received available within three months after the consultation has closed. It is assumed, therefore, that your reply can be made publicly available. Please see the section on Freedom of Information in the Cabinet Office consultation guidance for more information.

You should also be aware that there may be circumstances in which Defra will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations.

The main Departmental library is at the Information Resource Centre (IRC) at Ergon House, c/o 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR (Telephone 020 7238 6712) and will supply, on request, copies of responses to personal callers or telephone enquirers. For those wishing to obtain copies of comments, an administrative charge to cover copying and postage will be made. To enable requests to be dealt with efficiently and to avoid delay for those calling at the Library in person, it would be appreciated if personal callers could give the Library at least 24 hours' notice of their requirements.

All consultation documents are published in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format PDF.

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

Page last modified: 30 January 2008

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs