Defra trims data collection

1st December 2016


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  • Mitigation ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Agriculture

Author

Keith Morrison

Collection of some datasets on environmental protection, farming, greenhouse gases, and waste is to be scrapped or scaled back, the environment department (Defra) has confirmed.

Defra’s response to feedback to its consultation on the proposals revealed that collection of local pollution control statistics would cease. These cover light industrial processes, such as vehicle respraying and printing, that are regulated by councils. The latest data in July revealed that almost half of the most environmentally damaging activities were undergoing no inspections.

The department will also stop compiling data for the Campaign for the Farmed Environment, a voluntary scheme to encourage farmers and land owners in England to enhance the environmental value of farmland. Data on UK expenditure on environmental protection will not be gathered in 2016, although Defra said the Office for National Statistics would take on the task from 2017. The annual survey, which is required by EU law, covers UK businesses in the extraction, manufacturing and energy and water supply sectors.

Local authority waste data will now be collected annually instead of quarterly. The Environmental Services Association opposed this. The trade body said regular data collections were more important than ever, given that the UK is likely to miss its target to recycle 50% of household waste by 2020.

The department climbed down on its proposal to cut data collection on air quality, but said it would consider plans next year on revising how the statistics are gathered. The Committee on Climate Change had raised concerns about several sets of statistics related to agricultural emissions. Defra is still reviewing consultation responses on these datasets. A survey on the public’s use of the natural environment is to be cut.

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