Latest annual update

The 2021 report includes data on environmental trends for 45 of the 66 outcome indicators spanning across 9 of the 10 themes in the Outcome Indicator Framework. Three of the indicators presented in the 2021 report are classified as ‘Experimental Statistics’:

These indicators are being published as Experimental Statistics in order to facilitate user involvement in their development – information on how the data have been obtained and how the indicators have been prepared is available via the links in the individual indicator pages. We would welcome any feedback, particularly on the usefulness and value of these statistics, via

In addition, underpinning data for a further 2 indicators – J1 (interim) Carbon footprint and consumer buying choices and J2 Raw material consumption – are sourced from datasets originally published elsewhere as Experimental Statistics.

Of the 45 indicators presented, 28 are described as interim indicators. Interim indicators are those where further development is expected to extend or improve the reporting against the indicator. Reporting interim indicators means that we can communicate data where they are available, whilst recognising that further development is necessary for the indicator to be complete. Examples of circumstances under which an indicator is considered to be interim include: data need to be extracted for England from a UK wide dataset, additional data need to be added to the indicator, or the methods used for deriving an indicator are expected to be further developed. The specific reason why an indicator is currently presented as interim is described in the individual indicator pages. Indicators are described as ‘final’ indicators where no further significant development is immediately expected, notwithstanding the future development of the framework as a whole.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic indicator B4 Condition of bathing waters has not been updated due to disruption with data collection and analysis being delayed or suspended. A statement is included within the indicator’s readiness and links to data section noting how it may have implications for future updates.

A limited number of changes have been made to the indicator descriptions over the last year. These reflect feedback and further consideration and development of the indicators to ensure the most appropriate data are presented.

There have been some specific changes to individual indicators after further consideration of their intended purpose, in order to better reflect alignment with 25 Year Environment Plan commitments and to deliver the insights required to support associated policy needs: Modification of title for A7 from ‘Area of sensitive habitats exposed to damaging levels of ammonia (NH3) in the atmosphere’ to ‘Area of land exposed to damaging levels of ammonia (NH3) in the atmosphere’. This modification is to better reflect the content as a description of ammonia exposure on all ecosystems, and not exclusively sensitive habitats. The actual data reported remain directly comparable to previous years.

Inclusion of additional metrics for B3 ‘State of the Water Environment’ to provide a more comprehensive insight on the condition of different water body types and on different elements, thus better fulfilling the indicator description.

Extended reporting under B7 ‘Health of freshwaters assessed through fish populations’ to include fish classification data which reflect the status of fish species within rivers in England. This provides a more comprehensive insight as set out by the indicator description.

Modification of title for C3 from ‘Diverse seas: status of marine mammals, birds and fish’ to ‘Diverse seas: status of marine mammals and marine birds’. The removal of fish from this indicator is due to information on fish species population changes separately being reported in C7 ‘Healthy seas: fish and shellfish populations’.

D6 ‘Abundance and distribution of priority species in England’ has been renamed ‘Relative abundance and distribution of priority species in England’ to clarify that it does not present population sizes in absolute terms; it instead presents an index to more simply describe large-scale changes across many species. This indicator additionally reports England-level data this year together with new information describing long and short-term insights.

D7 ’Species supporting ecosystem functions’ additionally reports new information this year, describing long and short-term insights.

A number of indicators remaining in development have recent progress described in their respective pages.