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

We cover – we make policy and legislation, and work with others to deliver our policies in - areas such as:

  • the natural environment, biodiversity, plants and animals
  • sustainable development and the green economy
  • food, farming and fisheries
  • animal health and welfare
  • environmental protection and pollution control
  • rural communities and issues.

Although we only work directly in England, we work closely with the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and we generally lead on negotiations in the EU and internationally.

The Government believes that we need to protect the environment for future generations, make our economy more environmentally sustainable, and improve our quality of life and well-being. We also believe that much more needs to be done to support the farming industry, protect biodiversity and encourage sustainable food production.


Dr Ailsa Benton

Air Quality Science Policy Advisor

Professor Ian Boyd

Chief Scientific Adviser

Sarah Church

Director, Food and Farming

Georgina Collins

Deputy Director for Floods, Water and CBRN Emergencies

Tamsin Cooper

National Food Strategy Deputy Director

Lucia Costanzo

Senior Manager, Engagement | Joint Air Quality Unit | Defra/DfT

John Curnow

Chief Economist

Henry Dieudonné-Demaria

Former Lead, Climate Strategy

Tamara Finkelstein

Permanent Secretary

Dr Gemma Harper

Marine Deputy Director

Nick Joicey

Former Director General, Strategy, EU Exit and Finance

David Kennedy

Director General for Food, Farming, Animal and Plant Health

Dr Tim Leunig

Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary of State

Emily Miles

Group Director, Strategy

Frances Pimenta

Head of Climate Adaption Policy

Thomas Pryke

Policy Adviser

James Smith

Head of Plant and Bee Health Policy

Professor Sir Robert Watson

Former Chief Scientific Adviser

Dr Iain Williams

Former Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser

Dr Kay Williams

Head of International Chemicals and Nanotechnology