DEFRA ministers: Who does what

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sustainability, Global warming

Owen Patterson, DEFRA secretary of state
Owen Patterson, DEFRA secretary of state
Ministerial responsibilities in the newly reshuffled Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have been revealed.

DEFRA has released details of the portfolios of Owen Patterson, secretary of state, David Heath, minister of state for agriculture and food, Richard Benyon, parliamentary under-secretary for natural environment, water and rural affairs and Lord de Mauley, parliamentary under-secretary for resource management, the local environment and environmental science.

Here’s what subjects will be fill filling the ministers’ in-trays:

Paterson​’s portfolio

  • Strategy and overall responsibility for departmental policy
  • Budget and finances
  • Legislative programme
  • Emergencies
  • EU and international relations
  • Environment Agency and Natural England

Heath​’s portfolio


  • Common Agricultural Policy and deputising for the secretary of state at EU Agriculture Council
  • Single payments scheme and the Rural Payments Agency
  • New Covent Garden Market Authority
  • Better regulation
  • Climate change mitigation in the agriculture sector
  • Agricultural wages, gangmasters’ licensing and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme
  • Rural Development Programme for England (joint with Benyon).

Animal health

  • Management of endemic and exotic diseases (including bovine TB)
  • Animal Health and Welfare Board for England
  • Welfare of farm animals
  • Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency
  • Veterinary Medicines Directorate


  • Domestic forestry policy
  • Response to the Independent Panel on Forestry ’s report
  • Forestry Commission

 Commons handling of Lords portfolio

  • Nanotechnology, pesticides, chemicals and industrial pollution
  • Genetically modified organisms
  • Plant and bee health
  • Green economy, sustainable consumption and production
  • Welfare of companion and wild animals (including circuses, dangerous dogs and zoos)

Benyon​’s portfolio

Natural Environment

  • Biodiversity (domestic and international, including international forestry)
  • Land management and soil (including commons and contaminated land)
  • National parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty
  • Ecosystem services
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee
  • Wildlife management

Water and marine

  • Flooding and coastal erosion
  • Inland waterways
  • Water resource management and quality (including Ofwat)
  • Fisheries, including Common Fisheries Policy and EU Fisheries Council
  • Marine environment (including marine and coastal access act implementation and marine management organisation)

Rural affairs

  • Economic development (including broadband and mobile technologies)
  • Skills and apprenticeships
  • Countryside and rights of way including coastal and wider access
  • Rural development programme for England (joint with Heath)

Commons handling of Lords portfolio

  • Air quality, noise and litter
  • Climate change adaptation and mitigation (including biofuels)
  • Environmental regulation
  • Environmental Science
  • Localism and civil society
  • Waste and management

Lord de Mauley’s​ portfolio

All departmental business in the House of Lords

Resource Management

  • Climate change adaptation
  • Environmental impacts of climate change mitigation (including biofuels)
  • Environmental regulation (including deputising for the secretary of state at EU Environment Council)
  • Sustainable consumption and production
  • Waste management

Local Environment

  • Air quality
  • Noise and litter
  • Welfare of companion and wild animals (including circuses, dangerous dogs and zoos)
  • Localism and civil society

Science and research

  • Environmental science
  • Nanotechnology
  • Pesticides, chemicals and industrial pollution
  • Genetically modified organisms
  • Plant and bee health
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
  • Food and Environment Research Agency

Related topics: People & Skills

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