The National Audit Office has today published a briefing on how the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) is preparing for the UK’s exit from the EU. With almost all of its areas of responsibility framed by EU legislation, Defra is a key player within government negotiations on the withdrawal agreement and the future partnership with the EU.

The briefing sets out the following:

  • The scale of Defra’s task. The EU affects virtually all of Defra’s activities, which means Defra faces an extensive legislative programme. This includes two major bills to establish UK policies for agriculture and fisheries and an estimated 95 items of secondary legislation to convert EU laws into UK law.
  • How Defra has set about its task. The department has adapted its governance structures to integrate the EU exit within its existing business as usual. It has drawn up detailed plans for its highest priority work streams.
  • How Defra is working with others including arm’s-length bodies, other government departments and devolved administrations.

Read the full report

Implementing the UK’s Exit from the European Union: The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Notes for editors

  1. Press notices and reports are available from the date of publication on the NAO website. Hard copies can be obtained by using the relevant links on our website.
  2. The National Audit Office scrutinises public spending for Parliament and is independent of government. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Sir Amyas Morse KCB, is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO, which employs some 785 people. The C&AG certifies the accounts of all government departments and many other public sector bodies. He has statutory authority to examine and report to Parliament on whether departments and the bodies they fund have used their resources efficiently, effectively, and with economy. Our studies evaluate the value for money of public spending, nationally and locally. Our recommendations and reports on good practice help government improve public services. Our work led to audited savings of £734 million in 2016.

Latest press releases