Last year, the department spent £477,000 on one single 'consumer carbon' campaign, carried out by Trimedia. This was the most expensive campaign the department has ever run.
Data obtained by PRWeek via the Freedom of Information Act reveals that Defra spent nothing on external PR support in 2003-04 and a total of £58,789 in 2004-05. In 2007-08 it spent £573,640 on PR agencies, with much of the cash spent on campaigns around climate change and consumer carbon.
Defra director of comms Steve Morris said: 'Climate change has become a huge focus for Defra and for its comms department and the campaign is set to step up over the coming year.'
A major part of the Government's strategy for 2008-09 is the 'Act on CO2' campaign, which is being handled across government departments with involvement from Defra, the Department of Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Since 2005, Defra has also spent £236,058 on campaigns carried out by Amazon PR to promote sustainable development programmes, aimed at reducing the impact on the environment from human consumption.
PR SPEND OVER PAST FOUR YEARS
2007-08 Consumer carbon Trimedia £477,000
Residual waste Munro & Forster £64,424
Climate change champions Trimedia £32,216
2006-07 Year of food & farming Blue Rubicon £293,450
Personal food imports Media Moguls £45,000
Climate change radio Trimedia £60,300
Sustainable development Amazon PR £120,000
Climate change Weber Shandwick £12,600
2005-06 Sustainable development Amazon PR £116,058
Climate change Weber Shandwick £86,781
2004-05 CoRWM PR appointment COI £2,250
Sustainable development PR Amazon PR £56,539