About us

We are responsible for improving and protecting the environment. We aim to grow a green economy and sustain thriving rural communities. We also support our world-leading food, farming and fishing industries.


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.

We are here to make our air purer, our water cleaner, our land greener and our food more sustainable.

Our mission is to restore and enhance the environment for the next generation, leaving it in a better state than we found it.

Priority outcomes

  • improve the environment through cleaner air and water, minimised waste, and thriving plant and terrestrial and marine wildlife
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon storage in the agricultural, waste, peat and tree planting sectors to help deliver net zero
  • reduce the likelihood and impact of flooding and coastal erosion on people, businesses, communities and the environment
  • increase the sustainability, productivity and resilience of the agriculture, fishing, food and drink sectors, enhance biosecurity at the border and raise animal welfare standards

Read our Outcome Delivery Plan to find out more about how we will deliver our outcomes and measure success.

Who we are

We have around 10,250 full-time equivalent employees as at 31 December 2020 (source: table 8 in ONS public sector employment data which excludes Non-Departmental Public Bodies). Our staff are based in London, 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

Access our 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.