Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

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What the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs does

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.

Defra is a ministerial department, supported by 33 agencies and public bodies.

Read more about what we do


Our ministers

Our management

Tamara Finkelstein
Tamara Finkelstein
Permanent Secretary
Sarah Homer
Director General, Chief Operating Officer
James Quinault
Interim Director General for Strategy and Change
David Kennedy
Director General for Food, Farming and Biosecurity
David Hill
Director General for Environment, Rural and Marine
Shaun Gallagher
Director General for Europe, international and constitution group
Emma Howard Boyd
Ex officio Defra board member
Tony Juniper CBE
Ex officio Defra board member
Henry Dimbleby
Lead non-executive board member
Ben Goldsmith
Non-executive board member
Elizabeth Buchanan
Non-executive board member
Colin Day
Non-executive board member
Lizzie Noel
Non-executive board member

Contact Defra

Defra Helpline

Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street
United Kingdom

Telephone (UK only)

03459 33 55 77

Telephone (from outside the UK)

+44 20 7238 6951

The quickest way to get a response is to call our Helpline which is open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm (find out about call charges at Alternatively you can email us, or write to us at the postal address given above. We aim to reply to emails within fifteen working days. During the COVID-19 outbreak, as we work from home, responses to postal queries will be significantly delayed.

Defra Rural Services helpline


03000 200 301

Contact the Defra Rural Services helpline for farming-related advice.
Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm.
You should also call us 24/7 to report suspicion of notifiable disease in animals.
Find out about call charges at

Pet Travel Scheme helpline

Pet Travel Section
Eden Bridge House
Lowther Street
United Kingdom

Pet Travel Scheme helpline

0370 241 1710

Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm (closed on bank holidays).
Find out about call charges at

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 using the details below.

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

Customer Contact Unit
Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street
United Kingdom

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we will not be answering any postal queries. Please send your queries by email. If you send an email, please remember to include a return email address.

High profile groups within Defra

Corporate information

Jobs and contracts

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