UK: New Food and Environment Research Agency
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A new national research centre for food and the environment will strengthen Defra’s food, farming and environmental research programme, Farming Minister Jane Kennedy has announced. The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) will bring together Defra’s Central Science Laboratory, Plant Health Division, Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate and the Plant Variety Rights Office and Seeds Division as one agency. This will significantly strengthen Defra’s work in plant and crop protection, food chain safety, environmental risk assessment and crises 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.
Professor Bob Watson, chief scientific advisor at Defra, stated: “We have positioned excellence in science at the top of Defra’s agenda to make sure we are producing the best evidence to develop appropriate solutions for problems occurring in ecosystems, water supplies, the climate and food. The creation of Fera is a landmark step in taking the best research forward and making our systems as streamlined as possible.” Adrian Belton, chief executive of The Food and Environment Research Agency, said:“The Food and Environment Research Agency puts Defra at the heart of the debate on food security and the science behind environmental issues. By combining policy development, scientific evidence and risk assessment Fera can play a full role in addressing challenges in the natural environment.” There will be an official launch of the new agency in spring.
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