To date, the Outcome Indicator Framework reports and dashboard have not included a quantitative assessment of indicators. Reported figures and supporting text have shown how indicator trends change over time but indicators have not stated whether change is in a favourable direction for meeting environmental goals. A new assessment section has been added to the 2022 update of the report and dashboard, to help with interpreting results and to allow for easier comparison across indicators and to enable the production of additional summary statistics.

Consistent categories of change for different time periods have been assigned to all indicators which are already published in a suitable format and with sufficient historic data to enable analysis. Indicator-specific results with a supporting narrative are provided for each indicator within the relevant indicator specific pages of this dashboard.

Where data are available for individual indicators, an assessment of environmental change since 2018 has been undertaken, to reflect progress made since the publication of the 25 Year Environment Plan. However, it is important to note that for most indicators, the currently available time series of data points since 2018 does not yet allow for anything more than an early indication of likely change. It is expected that the ongoing annual updates of the Outcome Indicator Framework will in time allow for statistically robust assessment of changes since 2018. This will require more than 5 data points in a given indicator’s time series since 2018 to minimise the impact of year-to-year fluctuations which make it difficult to interpret a clear trend. For this reason, care should be taken to not overinterpret offered assessments for the ‘since 2018’ category, as this is not felt to be as robust an assessment as the other categories which have more datapoints informing their analysis.

There are important considerations to be aware of when interpreting results. These are highlighted in the assessment background section of this dashboard, a new addition which also provides more detail on the aims of the assessment and the methodology employed. The assessment results section presents summaries of assessment results by each 25 Year Environment Plan Goal. These summaries help to interpret how much change has been observed across goals and include information on potential links between indicators for different goals to indicate where there may be knock on effects.