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

John Curnow

Chief Economist

Henry Dieudonné-Demaria

Head of the Natural Capital Committee Secretariat | Natural Environment Strategy

Dr Gemma Harper

Chief Social Scientist and Deputy Director for Marine

Nick Joicey

Director General, Strategy, EU Exit and Finance

Dr Tim Leunig

Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary of State

Emily Miles

Group Director, Strategy

Clare Moriarty

Permanent Secretary

Frances Pimenta

Policy Advisor

James Smith

Head of Plant and Bee Health Policy

Harriet Wallace

Deputy Director, Air Quality and Industrial Emissions

Professor Sir Robert Watson

Former Chief Scientific Adviser

Dr Iain Williams

Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser

Dr Kay Williams

Head of International Chemicals and Nanotechnology