Following Michael Gove’s recent appearance before the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee, it seems Defra is to assess its arms-length agencies after Brexit in a move that could see the Environment Agency merged with Natural England.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said that Defra’s director general for strategy delivery Shaun Gallagher would lead the review.

Asked if the review could result in some trimming or merging of agencies, Gove replied: “In other Government departments I have been responsible for closing some NDPBs [non-departmental public bodies]”.

The NDPBs under Defra include the Environment Agency and Natural England, but the Rural Payments Agency, which is an executive agency, was also mentioned.

Read more in Civil Service World

Gove also told the committee that 55 people have been seconded from Natural England to work on Brexit and 30 seconded from the EA. In total, 2,800 people have been taken on by Defra to work on Brexit.

Business Green now reports that more than two-thirds of all staff employed directly by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are working on delivering Brexit, according to official figures released by the government. See

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