Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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.


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Secretary of State

Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Ministers of State
George Eustice MP
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Rt Hon Zac Goldsmith MP
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Rebecca Pow MP
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Latest News (from Department Twitter Feed)

16 Oct 2019, 2:21 p.m.
Ruth’s cat Holly was missing for almost 2 years and was reunited with her because of her microchip. We think cats should be microchipped and we have launched the call for evidence to hear your thoughts: https://t.co/zdlaELf9NO @CatsProtection https://t.co/3wUsqM3mlD - Link
16 Oct 2019, 1:10 p.m.
Vets, get ready to start issuing Animal Health Certificates instead of EU Pet Passports from 23 October for pets travelling to Europe after #Brexit. 👉 Latest guidance on ordering and issuing AHCs here: https://t.co/toBFoz3xz1 https://t.co/Iq7UU4bSRX - Link
View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Tweets

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Date Type Title
Jul. 25 Oral Questions Oral Answers to Questions
Jul. 25 Topical Questions Topical Questions
May. 22 Urgent Questions Transport Emissions: Urban Areas
Oct. 15 Written Statements Environment Bill
Oct. 02 Westminster Hall Trophy Hunting Imports
Sep. 03 Adjournment Debate Sheep Farming: No-deal EU Exit
View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Commons Contibutions

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Legislation

Title Last Event Next Event Date Last Updated
Environment Bill 2019-20 1st reading: House of Commons (no debate) 15 Oct 2019, 10:24 a.m.
To make provision about targets, plans and policies for improving the natural environment; to make provision for the Office for Environmental Protection; to make provision about waste and resource efficiency; to make provision about air quality; to make provision for the recall of products that fail to meet environmental standards; to make provision about water; to make provision about nature and biodiversity; to make provision for conservation covenants; to make provision about the regulation of chemicals; and for connected purposes.
Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill 2019-20 1st reading: House of Commons (no debate) 14 Oct 2019, 6:55 p.m.
To make provision about the mode of trial and maximum penalty for certain offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Agriculture Bill 2017-19 Committee Debate: 14th sitting: House of Commons 20 November, 2018 (1) (2) 25 Sep 2019, 5:30 p.m.
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill To authorise new expenditure for certain agricultural and other purposes; to make provision about direct payments during an agricultural transition period following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union; to make provision about the acquisition and use of information connected with food supply chains; to confer power to respond to exceptional market conditions affecting agricultural markets; to confer power to modify retained direct EU legislation relating to agricultural and rural development payments and public market intervention and private storage aid; to make provision about marketing standards and the classification of carcasses; to make provision for the recognition of associations of agricultural producers which may benefit from certain exemptions from competition law; to confer power to make regulations about contracts for the purchase of agricultural products from agricultural producers and securing compliance with the WTO Agreement on Agriculture; and for connected purposes.
Fisheries Bill 2017-19 Committee Debate: 10th sitting (part 2): House of Commons 17 December, 2018 (1) (2) 27 Sep 2019, 11:48 a.m.
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision about policy objectives in relation to fisheries, fishing and aquaculture; to make provision about access to British fisheries; to make provision about the licensing of fishing boats; to make provision about the determination and distribution of fishing opportunities; to make provision enabling schemes to be established for charging for unauthorised catches of sea fish; to make provision about grants in connection with fishing, aquaculture or marine conservation; to make provision about the recovery of costs in respect of the exercise of public functions relating to fish or fishing; to confer powers to make further provision in connection with fisheries, aquaculture or aquatic animals; to make provision about byelaws and orders relating to the exploitation of sea fisheries; and for connected purposes.
Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill 2017-19 Committee Debates: compilation pdf of sitting so far: House of Commons 23 July, 2019 30 Aug 2019, 6:34 p.m.
To make provision about the mode of trial and maximum penalty for certain offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Ivory Act 2018 Royal Assent (Minutes of Proceddings) 20 December, 2018 21 Dec 2018, 10:39 a.m.
Following agreement by both Houses on the text of the Bill it received Royal Assent on 20 December 2018. The Bill is now an Act of Parliament (law). A Bill to prohibit dealing in ivory, and for connected purposes.
Kew Gardens (Leases) Act 2019 Royal Assent (Minutes of Proceedings) 9 September, 2019 3rd reading: House of Commons

24 Jul 2019

10 Sep 2019, 7:09 p.m.
A Bill to provide that the Secretary of State’s powers in relation to the management of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, include the power to grant a lease in respect of land for a period of up to 150 years
Wild Animals in Circuses Act 2019 Royal Assent (Minutes of Proceedings) 24 July, 2019 3rd reading: House of Lords

23 Jul 2019

25 Jul 2019, 6:52 p.m.
A Bill to make provision to prohibit the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

Petitions addressed by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Current Signatures Final Signatures Title Petition Deadline
247,048
Petition Closed

Ban the use of all non-recyclable and unsustainable food packaging

Gov Responded - 18 Jun 2019 Debated on - 24 Jun 2019
5 Jun 2019
closed 4 months, 1 week ago

Today the Earth is at a crisis point due to our plastic consumption, and as a result, people in the UK are more willing than ever to engage in recycling. Yet so much food packaging remains completely, frustratingly unrecyclable. Let's aim for the UK to lead the world with a 100% recycling rate.

186,226
Petition Closed

Reject calls to add Staffordshire Bull Terriers to the Dangerous Dogs Act

Gov Responded - 5 Jul 2018 Debated on - 16 Jul 2018
22 Dec 2018
closed 9 months, 4 weeks ago

PETA, an organisation that is meant to be dedicated to protecting animals, has proposed to the UK government that it should add Staffordshire Bull Terriers to the dangerous dogs act, effectively banning them outright. Breed Specific Legislation is not the solution to the problem of dog attacks.

148,248
Petition Closed

Ban the sale of puppies by pet shops & all commercial 3rd party dealers.

Gov Responded - 20 Mar 2018 Debated on - 21 May 2018
1 Sep 2018
closed 1 year, 1 month ago

Removing puppies for sale from litter & mum often creates sick, traumatised, dysfunctional dogs. Puppies should be seen with their mum & transporting them to a different place for sale harms welfare. Regulating commercial 3rd party sales is ineffective to prevent harm & a ban is therefore necessary.

View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Petitions

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee Home Page

Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries, and the Select Committee will occasionally publish formal reports of their findings.


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Publications


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Questions

Written Questions are submitted by Members of Parliament and the House of Lords to receive information or updates from a Department.

Departments are required to respond in a timely fashion and provide a response or requested information. Written Questions can compel detailed and specific information to be produced, and are frequently used as the source of news stories about the work of a Department.

Latest Written Question
Date Title Questioner
8 Oct 2019, 4:31 p.m. Birds: Pest Control Jim Shannon

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the general licences for bird control that were introduced in April 2019.

Answer (Zac Goldsmith)

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

View All Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Question