Environment Secretary Hilary Benn today launched the new Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) and opened its state-of-the-art facility in Sand Hutton. The new agency combines several parts of Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) science.
Fera brings together Defra’s Central Science Laboratory, Plant Health Division, Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate and the Plant Variety Rights Office and Seeds Division and UK Government Decontamination Service into one agency.
Officials say the new agency will significantly strengthen Defra’s work in plant and crop protection, food chain safety, environmental risk assessment and crisis response, and promote better integration between policy development, scientific evidence and inspection services. The merger will also enable a more rapid response to protect the public interest, and remove delays for businesses involved in both national and international trade.
“As we face the challenge of climate change, we need strong scientific institutions to provide us with good, credible evidence,” Benn said. “The creation of Fera is a big step forward in doing this.”
“Fera undertakes research, regulation and rapid response work, so that we can help protect seeds, plants, bees and people,” said Adrian Belton, CEO of Fera. “Today’s launch has helped to raise the profile of Fera’s work in support of Government priorities and indeed how our world class science and innovation can be exploited more widely for the challenges facing society as well as business.”