Environment Agency: Rural Payments Agency

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 18th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Colgrain Lord Colgrain Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Environment Agency computer systems share information with the computer systems of the Rural Payments Agency; and if not, when this might be introduced.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

At present, there are no direct system-to-system data exchanges between Rural Payments Agency and Environment Agency systems. Defra is committed to sharing data internally within the Department, externally across Government and with any interested party. Both the Rural Payments Agency and the Environment Agency publish datasets on the publicly available Defra Multi-Agency Geographic Information for the Countryside website, and within the Defra Spatial Repository and Toolkits which are accessible to all Defra Group organisations. Defra also publishes more than 8,000 datasets, which are publicly available under open licence.

However, both organisations have access to the Defra Customer and Land Database (CLAD) which is due to be replaced in 2019 by a system called CLARIS, which will enable the Environment Agency to have access to Rural Payments Agency land data. Additionally, the Rural Payments Agency periodically provides the Environment Agency with a manual extract of data relating to the ownership of land within Nitrate Vulnerable Zones for cross-compliance purposes.

As part of its wider consolidation and upgrade of IT systems the Defra Group is adopting shared IT platforms, for example cloud email services, document management, customer relationship management and identity management platforms. Agency data will coexist within the same physical platforms which may facilitate data sharing where there is a specific purpose for that data to be shared, and this is done in accordance with regulations such as the Data Protection Act and appropriate interagency data sharing agreements.

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