Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 15 March 2023.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Attorney General

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the cost to the public purse was of spending on external consultants by (a) the Environment Agency, (b) Natural England and (c) the Water Services Regulation Authority in (i) 2020, (ii) 2021 and (iii) 2022; and whether any of that spending related to the preparation of funding bids to (A) her Department and (B) HM Treasury.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

(a) Environment Agency

Financial Year

Consultancy (£m)








  1. Source: Environment Agency annual report and accounts table ‘Expenditure on temporary workforce’
  2. The above figures relate to total spending and not the ‘cost to the public purse’, as some of this will be charge or recharge funded.
  3. None of the above spending related to preparation or creation of any bids for Defra or HM Treasury.

(b) Natural England

As per the definition of consultancy which is “The provision to management of objective advice relating to strategy, structure, management or operations of an organisation. Such advice will be provided outside the ‘business-as-usual’ environment when in-house skills are not available and will be time-limited”, Natural England incurred nil consultancy spend in 2020 and 2021.

In 2022 £18,100 consultancy spend was incurred for the provision of specialist advice for the Customer Spending Review.

(c) Water Services Regulation Authority

Ofwat's spend on external consultants is listed in its Annual Report and Accounts: (see page 84); and previous year (see page 92).

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