Defra launches online legislation database

The environment department has launched the prototype of DefraLex, an online database of its legislation, and is asking for ideas on how it can be improved

Defra has launched the first incarnation of its online legislative tool DefraLex (

The website, which is the first of its kind by a UK government department, will, when complete, provide a searchable database of all Defra legislation currently in force.

The project forms part of the government’s drive for “smarter regulation” and aims to provide greater transparency in environmental regulation and make it easier for organisations, and those tasked with managing compliance, to keep up-to-date with changes.

The website was launched alongside the environment department’s latest plan outlining its efforts to streamline regulation and guidance. The document, Defra: Better for business, says DefraLex will be “a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all key publicly produced documentation on Defra-owned legislation, including guidance, consultation documents and impact assessments”.

The environment department is giving users until 15 May to feedback ideas on how they think DefraLex could be improved via a dedicated website:

The Defra team has already posed questions asking what other pieces of information or documentation users would like to see on DefraLex and how Defra could make legislative requriements more transparent for those who need to comply.

The launch of the prototype DefraLex came just two days after the Environment Agency's website was closed down and the bulk of its content moved to

The decision to move the site was described as "shortsighted" by Richard Clarke, environment and safety consultant at Cedrec. In a blog for the environmentalist, Clarke warned that the agency's online content could become "diluted amid the limitations of a one-stop site", leaving an "information void" for practitioners.


Sarah-Jayne Russell was the deputy editor of the environmentalist from March 2011 until June 2014.

Back to Top