Defra is opening its vast data reserves to the public with the challenge that those who make their living from food, farming and the environment should access the newly available data and research to help them “think big, take risks and build profitable businesses”.
Termed the “single biggest government data giveaway the UK has ever seen”, the Defra move was unveiled today by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss to an audience of tech experts, entrepreneurs and investors in Tech City. London.
“Defra is the most data-rich department in Whitehall, though much of it, millions and millions of files, is hidden away,” she said. “It is worth billions of pounds to British people, businesses and our rural economy, and it can be used to improve the quality of our natural environment.
“It’s time to realise that value and tap into the aspiration at the heart of our rural communities to drive up productivity and deliver the true one nation economy this country deserves.”
In challenging farmers to “think big” in their use of the newly released data, Ms Truss added that Defra’s data “goldmine” would create countless new opportunities for people across the UK who make their living from food, farming and the environment.
“It will allow UK farmers to apply cutting-edge techniques to boost efficiency and productivity, and allow better monitoring and management of environmental risks,” she concluded.
Headline image shows Ms Truss surrounded by Defra’s stored data