25-year environment plan: Defra consults on key indicators

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The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is seeking views on key indicators to measure progress against its flagship 25-Year Environment Plan.

The Government’s Draft Environment Bill, launched last month, includes requirements to:

  • establish a pioneering new system of green governance

  • improve air quality

  • restore and enhance nature

  • improve waste management and resource efficiency

  • improve surface water, ground water and waste water management

As part of the delivery process the Bill also introduces a statutory duty for the Secretary of State to set out a 25-Year Environment Plan, for improving the natural environment.

Included in the draft plan is a commitment to develop a comprehensive set of indicators, which collectively describes environmental change as it relates to the goals set out in the 25-Year Environment Plan.

The 65 indicators in the draft plan aim to track changes in the environment system as a whole including:

  • the state of environmental assets (including air, water, land, seas and wildlife)

  • the main pressures being placed on them (for example pollution, or plant disease)

  • the benefits people receive from the environment.

The range of indictors is in line with the concept of natural capital — defined as the “elements of the natural environment which provide valuable goods and services to people such as clean air, clean water, food and recreation”.

The set of 65 indicators ae grouped under 15 headline indicators and, like the 25-Year Environment Plan itself, have a geographical scope of England, and UK interests internationally, though in some cases data are only available for the UK.

To test and improve the draft framework and to ensure it is cost-effective, Defra is seeking views from businesses, communities and environmental experts on whether the indicators and measures it plans are effective in monitoring environmental change.

Full details to the draft indicator framework and the consultation document are available here.

Last reviewed 8 January 2019

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