Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 1


  Fourteen of the indicators in A better quality of life are especially relevant to biodiversity. Two of these: "extent and management of SSSIs" and "biodiversity action plans" are central to English Nature's core business and will be expected to report on the progress of these indicators. Quality of life counts provides the baseline assessment to support the indicators (ie "where we are now") and a benchmark against which future progress can be measured.

  The indicators directly and indirectly relevant to biodiversity are listed below. The 14 key biodiversity indicators are marked with an asterisk. The indicators fall into two categories "state" indicators which reflect changes in the status/quality/health of the environment and pressure/response indicators which reflect human influences on the environment and the responses of public and private sector to environmental problems.

Sustainable development indicators directly and indirectly relevant to biodiversity:

State Indicators

    —  area of woodland in the UK (managed to contribute to national BAP targets)*

    —  ancient semi-natural woodland*

    —  sustainable management of woodland*

    —  landscape features: hedges, stonewalls, ponds*

    —  extent and management of SSSIs*

    —  countryside quality (quality of wildlife experience)

    —  native species at risk*

    —  populations of wild birds—farmland and woodland (headline indicator)*

    —  trends in plant diversity*

    —  biodiversity action plans (priority habitats and species target outcomes)*

    —  biodiversity in coastal/marine areas*

    —  rivers of good or fair quality (headline indicator)*

    —  low flow in rivers

    —  nutrients in freshwater

    —  access to local greenspace*

    —  area under agri-environment schemes

    —  low flow in rivers*

    —  coastal and estuarine water quality*

Pressure/Response Indicators

    —  mineral workings covered by aftercare/restoration conditions

    —  inputs of contaminants into the sea

    —  emissions of greenhouse gases

    —  sea level rise

    —  pressure on key sites from tourism

    —  waste and hazardous emissions by sector

    —  green housekeeping in government

  The final response indicator "green housekeeping in government" has been included to measure the progress on the integration of environmental policies into each department's operations. To help government departments respond to the challenges posed by biodiversity English Nature and the DETR Biodiversity Policy Unit have produced Making Biodiversity Happen Across Government: Green Ministers biodiversity checklist (DETR, March 2000).

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