Measuring well-being and sustainable development: Sustainable Development Indicators - Environmental Audit Committee Contents


11.  As soon as the National Well-being and SDI measures reach a stable state of development, the ONS and Defra should consider how a single framework could be produced. We recommend that this should be done as the UN Statistical Commission's work on well-being and the post-Rio draft Sustainable Development Goals take shape. (Paragraph 22)

12.  The proposed 'debt' SDI should be replaced with an indicator which reflects the extent to which public sector debt will be a burden rather than a boon for the next generation. Bond rates could provide an economic view of the sustainability of a country's debt. A measure which might reflect social and environmental purposes behind borrowing should be investigated. (Paragraph 33)

13.  Defra should reconsider its proposal to drop the 'environmental equality' SDI, and explain in its analysis of the responses to the consultation how it will source the data for this indicator. It should also review each of the other proposed SDIs to see how they might measure the range values for how they affect people's lives, not just the average. (Paragraph 38)

14.  The 'natural resource use' indicator should comprise all finite non-fossil fuel resource usage, thus excluding biomass, timber and fossil fuels, but including aggregates usage (which is in the current SDIs). (Paragraph 40)

15.  We recommend that Defra should apply existing commitments as targets for the corresponding SDIs, including those on air quality, emissions and renewable energy. It should also review the scope for setting targets on the other SDIs, consulting again those who have recently raised this issue with the department. (Paragraph 45)

16.  We recommend that Defra should produce a full set of SDIs when it presents the results of its recent consultation exercise, including those indicators which were identified as still under development in July. It should plan now to provide the designated resources necessary to ensure that there is no delay in finalising those outstanding indicators and establishing the necessary data sources. It should also confirm that the new set of SDIs will be designated as National Statistics, fully subject to the quality controls that that implies. (Paragraph 49)

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Prepared 29 November 2012