The government is merging four of Defra’s Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) inspectorates with the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) to form a new combined agency.

The new agency will be called the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and in addition to the animal health role of the AHVLA will also take on the Bee inspectorate, Plants Health and Seeds Inspectorate, Plant Variety and Seeds Group and GM Inspectorate from FERA. It will be operative from October 2014.

Defra is continuing to consider whether elements of the role of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) should also be merged into the new body.