About us

What we do

We are the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.


The environment is fundamental to all that we do, and we must protect and enhance it. Our job is to make our country a great place for living. We do this by supporting our superb food, farming and fisheries industries, enhancing our beautiful rural environment, and better protecting against flooding, disease and other natural threats.


  • a smooth and orderly exit from the EU
  • a cleaner, healthier environment, benefiting people and the economy
  • a world leading food and farming industry
  • a rural economy that works for everyone, contributing to national productivity, prosperity and wellbeing
  • a nation better protected against floods, animal and plant diseases and other hazards, with strong response and recovery capabilities

Read our Single Departmental Plan to find out more about how we are performing against our objectives.

Who we are

We have around 3,500 staff (1 April 2018) working in Defra, including policy makers, scientists and research specialists. Most of our staff are based in London, but we have others in Bristol, York and other offices throughout England.

Although Defra only works directly in England, it works closely with the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and generally leads on negotiations in the EU and internationally.

Expenditure data

Defra publishes a range of corporate information on data.gov.uk including information on staffing and salaries.

Framework documents

We have produced the following framework documents in partnership with our arm’s length bodies (ALBs). They set out the broad framework in which the ALBs operate, including information on their overall purpose and functions, governance arrangements and accountability. This is in accordance with the principles of the ‘partnerships with arm’s length bodies: code of good practice’ and ‘managing public money’.

Corporate information

Read about the types of information we routinely publish in our Publication scheme. Our Personal information charter explains how we treat your personal information.

Corporate reports