What we do

We are the UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on environmental, food and rural issues. Our priorities are to grow the rural economy, improve the environment and safeguard animal and plant health.

Defra is a ministerial department, supported by 35 agencies and public bodies.

Read more about what we do

We work on these topics

  1. Rural and countryside

    The interests of rural communities in the UK must be properly represented. Through investing in the rural economy, improving access to the countryside, coast and inland waterways, we will secure the future of these areas and their communities. Read more

  2. Food and farming

    Britain needs to ensure a sustainable supply of food for the UK market and export. Supporting and developing British farming, and encouraging sustainable food production (including fisheries) will ensure a secure, environmentally sustainable and healthy supply of food with improved standards of animal welfare. Read more

  3. Environment

    The government is working to protect our environment by reducing pollution, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill, protecting areas of parkland, wildlife reserves and marine biodiversity, and enforcing regulations that keep our water and air clean. We also help communities avoid or recover from flooding and other weather-related hazards. Read more

  4. Wildlife and animal welfare

    The government offers advice and guidance to pet owners and also enforces legislation to protect pets against cruelty. The UK has a diverse and unique range of wildlife, but over-exploitation (such as over-fishing), habitat loss, climate change and the impact of non-native species all pose a threat. Read more

Our policies

  1. Reducing and managing waste

    How the government is working towards a zero waste economy by supporting the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste, and controlling hazardous waste.

  2. Reforming and managing marine fisheries for a prosperous fishing industry and a healthy marine environment

    What the government is doing to protect fish stocks by managing quotas, reducing discards, reforming fisheries and funding research and monitoring programmes.

  3. Protecting and sustainably using the marine environment

    What the government is doing to protect the marine environment and biodiversity through planning, regulation, science and research.

See all our policies

Contact Defra

Defra Helpline

Nobel House
17 Smith Square


The quickest way to get a response is to call our Helpline which is open Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (find out about call charges at www.gov.uk/call-charges). Alternatively you can email us at defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk or write to us at the postal address given above. We aim to reply to emails or letters within fifteen working days.

Pet Travel Scheme helpline

Pet Travel Section
Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency
Hadrian House, Wavell Drive
Rosehill Industrial Estate

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed on bank holidays). Find out about call charges at www.gov.uk/call-charges.

Make an FOI request

  1. Read about the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and how to make a request
  2. Check our previous releases to see if we’ve already answered your question
  3. Make a new request by contacting us at:

Freedom of Information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) requests

Customer Contact Unit
7th Floor
Nobel House
17 Smith Square


High profile groups within Defra

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