The Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs) provide an overview of progress towards a sustainable economy, society and environment. There are 12 headline and 23 supplementary indicators, comprising 25 and 41 measures respectively. Where there is sufficient data to be compared, measures have been assessed over the long-term and short-term to show if there has been clear improvement, deterioration or if there has been little or no overall change.
The Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs) provide an overview of progress towards a sustainable economy, society and environment.
There are 12 headline and 23 supplementary indicators, which have 25 and 41 measures respectively. Where there is sufficient data to be compared, measures have been assessed over the long-term and short-term to see if there has been clear improvement, deterioration or if there has been little or no overall change.
Data are the latest available at 27 June 2014. Where possible the indicators have been presented for England. Where data are not available, indicators may be presented for England and Wales combined, or for the UK as a whole.
Responsibility for updating, maintaining and developing the SDIs has transferred to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). ONS is already responsible for the production of the National Well-being measures, and this transfer recognises the close relationship between these measures and the SDIs.
Policy responsibility for mainstreaming sustainable development across Government remains with Defra.
The Sustainable Development Indicator set was launched in 2001, and following consultation in 2012 a streamlined set was published in 2013. The first results from this revised indicator set were published in July 2013.
When changes in the indicator measures are small it can be difficult to judge whether they are sufficient to indicate that there has been clear improvement or deterioration. For this reason, each measure has been assessed using a 'traffic light' system. They do not show whether the measure has reached any published or implied targets; they show whether changes in the trends are showing clear improvement or deterioration.
The change of a measure is assessed over a set time. The value of the start year is compared to the end of the end year. Where data are available, two assessment periods have been used:
Long-term – an assessment of change since the earliest date for which data are available (usually back to 1990). If the earliest data available is after 2000, no long-term assessment is made.
Short-term – an assessment of change for the latest five-year period.
The traffic lights only show the overall change in the measure from the start year to the end year, and do not reflect fluctuations during the intervening years.
The individual measures also have a third marker, showing the direction of change between the two most recent data points. This period is too short for a meaningful assessment. However, when it exceeds a one percentage point threshold, the direction of change is given simply as an acknowledgement of very recent trends, and as a possible early sign of emerging trends.
The traffic light assessments are as follows:
Where data are not available for the relevant time period, an assessment is not given. For example, if data are only readily available after 2000 a long-term assessment cannot be made. This is shown as not assessed:
Where possible, the traffic light assessment has been made by evaluating trends using statistical analysis techniques. A green or red traffic light is only applied when there is sufficient confidence that the change is statistically significant.
Where it has not been possible to formally determine statistical significance, an assessment has been made by comparing the difference between the value of the measure in the base or start year and the value in the end year against a ‘rule of thumb’ threshold. The standard threshold used is three percentage points. Where an indicator value has changed by less than the threshold of three percentage points, the traffic light has been set at amber, signifying little or no overall change.
A minority of indicators do not have an assessment. This may be for a number of reasons:
The indicator is for context, where no action from government would intentionally affect change (for example, projected population estimates).
The indicator is based on forecasts or projections and as such the assessment year is unclear (for example, forecasts of public sector net debt and borrowing).
There is no clear ‘favourable’ direction of travel (for example, with land use or origins of food). A full explanation of the reasons for this is given in the relevant section.
This publication generally uses the same sources and assessment methods used by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in their July 2013 publication of the Sustainable Development Indicators. Where there have been changes, these are listed below:
The GDP and GDP per head measures are taken from Quarterly National Accounts rather than the Blue Book publication.
The GDP and GDP per head measures are based on National Accounts methodology. In line with ONS policy no assessment of change is being indicated for these measures.
The assessment method for the long-term unemployed measure has changed from 3% difference to confidence intervals.
There have been methodological improvements to the measure of greenhouse gas emissions associated with UK consumption. This is an experimental series and a detailed methodological note is available from Defra.
The assessment method for all three measures has changed from 3 percentage point movements to use of confidence intervals.
To comply with ONS methodology this measure is now produced using the most advantaged occupation of either parent. In the July 2013 publication it was based on father’s occupation only.
This measure is now calculated using the low income high cost (LIHC) definition, as recommended by the Hills Fuel Poverty review. In previous editions it was calculated using the under 10 per cent full income definition.
Both measures are now based on Biodiversity 2020 indicators.
The chart and table below show the number of measures which are showing improvement, deterioration or no change in the long-term and short-term.
Overall, 18 out of 60 measures showed an improvement over the long-term, and 27 showed improvement over the short-term.
Overall, 9 out of 60 measures showed deterioration over the long-term, and 10 showed deterioration over the short-term.
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4 of the 'Economy' measures showed improvement over the long-term, compared with 3 over the short-term.
2 of the 'Economy' measures showed deterioration over the long-term, compared with 4 over the short-term.
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3 of the 'Society' measures showed improvement over the long-term, compared with 11 over the short-term.
3 of the 'Society' measures showed deterioration over the long-term, compared with 2 over the short-term.
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11 of the 'Environment' measures showed improvement over the long-term, compared with 13 over the short-term.
4 of the 'Environment' measures showed deterioration over the long-term, compared with 3 over the short-term.
Economic prosperity generally means that the economy is doing well, and that most people have sufficient income. Comparing GDP and median Income gives an indication to economic prosperity.
GDP peaked in 2007 and then declined as the country entered recession. Although GDP has increased since the 2008 recession, it remains below 2007 levels. Since 2010 GDP per head has remained broadly unchanged, despite growth in GDP, because of population growth.
After rising fairly steadily since 1997, median incomes fell for the first time between 2010 and 2011 and have continued to decrease through 2012.
Examining income distribution can reveal the inequalities within household income. Income distribution displays the spread of household income under £1000 per week.
In 2011/12 median income was £427 per week, while the mean income was £528 per week. This difference is due to the mean being skewed by very high earners.
The most commonly used threshold to determine if someone is in relative low income (60% of median income) was £256 per week, before housing costs. The income distribution showed a high concentration of individuals close to this relative low-income threshold.
Extended periods of unemployment can impact on individuals and families, through loss of income, social isolation, sense of worth and other factors. Employment enables people to meet their needs and improve their living standards, and is an effective and sustainable way to tackle poverty and social exclusion for those who can work.
The proportion of economically active adults aged 16 and over who had been unemployed for over 12 months fell 0.1 percentage points between 2012 and 2013, to 2.6 %. After a steady decline between the early 1990s and 2004, there was a 1.7 percentage point rise between 2004 and 2013.
Unemployment rates fell for all age groups between 2012 and 2013. The largest decrease was for those aged 16 to 17, where the unemployment rate fell by 0.9 percentage points.
The proportion of those aged 18 to 24 who were unemployed for over 12 months in 2013 was relatively unchanged since 1993 (5.7% and 6.2% respectively). However, the rate fell notably in the mid to late 1990s before rising again, with the fall noticeable in all age groups. There were lower rates of long-term unemployment in 2013 for those aged 25 to 49 and those aged over 50, compared to 1993.
Poverty can perpetuate from one generation to the next, and the proportion of children in poverty is a key issue for intergenerational well-being. Poverty is measured by the proportion of children living in households with incomes below 60% of the median.
In 2012/13, relative low income before housing costs in England remained at its lowest rate since the series started in 1994/95, at 17%. Much of the reduction since 1998/99 was driven by increased entitlements to state support.
The proportion of children in England living in relative low-income households has fallen since the mid-1990s, levelling off in the mid-2000s before declining to 2010/11 then stabilising. The stabilisation between 2010/11 and 2011/12 is because incomes for families with children at the lower end of the income distribution fell at the same rate as incomes around the median.
Between 2011/12 and 2012/13, absolute low income before housing costs increased by two percentage points from 17% to 19%.
The increase in the proportion of children living in absolute low income households is because Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation3 rose faster than incomes did for households with children.
The value of human capital is difficult to measure, as the international statistical community have not agreed a definition.
The concept of human capital is broad and encompasses a range of personal attributes, such as people’s health conditions. However, in practical terms the focus of measurement has been limited to people’s skills, knowledge and abilities, and in particular on the role of formal education and training in developing them.
Human capital is recognised as having important economic benefits; for example, there is a link between increased human capital (as measured by qualifications) and economic growth4. For this indicator, the measurement of human capital has been restricted to people’s skills and abilities5.
The value of total human capital stock fell from £18.0 trillion in 2011 to £17.9 trillion in 2012. Human capital has risen by £0.8 trillion between 2004 (£17.1 trillion) and 2012.
There was a steady accumulation of human capital per capita between 2004 and 2007. In 2008, the per capita figure began to decline, and has been in decline ever since. This is despite growth in the total stock of human capital. This is a result of growth in the size of the working age population. In 2012, the average full human capital stock per head of working age population was £445,479, a decrease of £1,922 on the 2011 estimate.
The stock of human capital is disproportionately concentrated in younger workers. For example, 41.2% of the working age population are aged between 16 and 35, but this group embodies 65.9% of the human capital stock. This shows that being relatively young and having more years of paid employment remaining more than offsets the effect of having higher earnings whilst being relatively old.
Median income is commonly considered to be a better representation of income distribution. The use of mean income would be skewed by the extremely wealthy. The median income is the amount at which income distribution can be split into two groups, where half of the population would be above the median income and half would be below.
Barro R J and Sala-i-Martin X (2004) Economic Growth, second edition, Boston: MIT Press.
This measure is based on the value of qualifications gained during education, including early childhood education, school-based compulsory education, post-compulsory vocational or general education, tertiary education, labour market education and adult education. As the population grows, changes in human capital can be masked when looking at the stock measure, and we have therefore also presented human capital per head. This measure of human capital is currently experimental. Measures of human capital are still being developed and may have a slightly different form in the future.
As life expectancy continues to increase, it is important to understand whether increasing longevity is accompanied by longer periods in favourable or unfavourable health states. Variations in the proportion of life spent in good health have impacts on general health and well-being as well as having potentially significant implications for future healthcare resource need and fitness for work in the face of planned state pension age increases.
Healthy life expectancy in England is increasing for both males and females. The proportion of life spent in very good or good health increased between 2005–07 and 2008–10. Therefore men and women could expect to spend longer periods of their longer lives in very good or good health.
Females have higher life expectancy and healthy life expectancy than males. This can be explained by a number of factors; for example, higher rates of obesity, alcohol consumption and smoking amongst men are all statistically associated with increased risk of mortality and morbidity.
Social capital can be described as the pattern and intensity of networks among people, and the shared values which arise from those networks. While definitions vary, the main aspects include citizenship, 'neighbourliness', social networks and civic participation1. These measures may change slightly over time as Cabinet Office and the Office for National Statistics further develop their work on measuring social capital.
In August 2012 to April 2013, 41% of people in England engaged in actions addressing issues of public concern, including online activities.
Between 2001 and 2010–11 the proportion of people engaging in actions addressing issues of public concern decreased significantly. The subsequent increase in August 2012 to April 2013 is not comparable with earlier years’ data due to question being changed to include online participation.
The proportion of people in England volunteering either formally or informally decreased from 74% in 2001 to 72% in August 2012 to April 2013.
From a peak of 76% of people engaging in some kind of volunteering in 2005, this proportion declined by 11 percentage points to a low of 65% in 2010–11.
Between 2010–11 and August 2012 to April 2013, there was an increase of seven percentage points back to 2007–8 levels.
In 2010/11 almost all (98%) of adults aged 16 and over in England had a friend, relative or partner they could rely on at least a little if they had a serious problem.
In August 2012 to April 2013, 41% of adults in England agreed that people in their neighbourhoods could be trusted.
The proportion of people agreeing that people in their neighbourhood could be trusted increased significantly between 2007–08 and 2010–11, but following a decline in August 2012 to April 2013 there has been no significant overall change since 2007–08.
Patterns of inequality and a lack of social mobility can carry over from one generation to the next and this is a key issue for intergenerational well-being. Improving social mobility is about making sure individuals can fulfil their potential, regardless of their own or their parents’ background.
Around twice as many adults from ‘advantaged groups’ are in employment in managerial or professional positions than those from less advantaged groups.
The proportion of people in managerial or professional positions has increased since 1991–95, both for advantaged and less advantaged groups.
The gap between the two groups has remained similar over time.
As the number of households increases so too does the need for an adequate housing supply. Additional housing provision offers economic and social sustainability and should be looked at alongside other aspects of sustainable development.
From 2000–01, net housing supply increased for seven consecutive years, reaching a peak of 223,530 net additional dwellings in 2007–08.
Housing supply was strongly affected by the economic downturn and supply then fell. In 2012–13, annual housing supply amounted to 124,720 net additional dwellings. This is an 8% decrease in net additional dwellings from 2011–12 and 44% below the 2007-08 peak.
The indicators in this section have been chosen to reflect four domains of a framework on social capital developed by the Office for National Statistics. These four domains are: civic participation, which relates to individual involvement in local and national affairs and perceptions of ability to influence them; social participation, which means involvement in, and volunteering for, organised groups; social networks, which refers to contact with, and support from, family and friends; and reciprocity and trust which refers to the amount of trust individuals have in those they know and do not know, as well was trust in formal institutions.
Human emissions of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution are very likely responsible for most of the global surface warming seen over recent decades.
Emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases fell 2.1% and 1.9% respectively between 2012 and 2013. Nonetheless, carbon dioxide emissions are 127 million tonnes lower in 2013 than 1990, and greenhouse gas emissions are 208 million tonnes lower.
Emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases have fallen 21.5% and 26.7% respectively between 1990 and 2013.
Estimates of territorial emissions published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change cover only those emissions generated in the UK. Consumption emissions estimates published by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs relate to those associated with UK consumption, wherever in the world these emissions occur. This allows us to understand the overseas impact on emissions our consumption is having. For a more sustainable world, both our territorial emissions and our consumption emissions should decrease.
Carbon dioxide emissions fell 21.8% from their peak in 2004 to 2011, and also fell 4.7% between 2010 and 2011. Greenhouse gas emissions were 21.1% lower in 2011 than in 2004, and 3.1% lower than in 2010. It should be noted that emissions of greenhouse gases are currently classified as experimental.
Natural resource use is a consumption-based-indicator showing the amount of material used to meet UK consumption2. A reduction in non-renewable resource use, either by switching to renewable materials from sustainable sources, or from increased resource productivity, would be a positive outcome. To examine changes in resource productivity, and the comparative changes in materials, an indexed time series against Gross Domestic Productivity (GDP) is used.
Consumption of construction materials dropped by 31% between 2000 and 2011. Consumption of non-construction materials has risen and fallen over the same period, with the recent rise leaving it similar to the 2000 level.
The consistent decrease in consumption of construction materials coupled with higher GDP since 2000 suggests that there has been an increase in resource productivity. However, the recession has undoubtedly impacted the fall in construction materials from 2008 onwards.
Revised Raw Material Consumption estimates (including and excluding fossil fuels) for 2000 to 2012 are available in the UK Environmental Accounts, 2014 Material Flows Account dataset. Estimates split by ‘construction’ and ‘non-construction’ materials were not available at the time of publication of the Sustainable Development Indicators.
Natural capital includes those elements of the environment that provide resources and ecosystem services. We cannot determine our entire capital of natural resources and instead have to focus on selected aspects of the natural environment and changes in its state. Populations of key species of birds are a good indicator of the broad state of wildlife and countryside because they occupy a wide range of habitats and key positions in the food chain.
In 2012, the breeding farmland birds index in England was 49% of its value in 1970. Most of the decline in farmland birds occurred between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, largely due to the impact of rapid changes in farmland management during this period.
In 2012, the breeding woodland bird index in the UK was 18% lower than its 1970 level. The greatest decline of woodland birds occurred from the late 1980s until the early 1990s, and the index has shown improvement in recent years.
In 2012, the breeding water and wetland bird index in the UK was 7% lower than its 1975 level.
In 2012 the breeding seabird index in the UK was 2% from its baseline level in 1986.
Water is a vital resource that needs to be managed carefully to ensure both that people have access to affordable and safe drinking water and sanitation, and that industry needs are met, without depleting water resources or damaging ecosystems. A decrease in abstraction over a period of several years means less water is being taken from surface and ground waters. As this indicator has been included to represent the state of our natural environmental (water) stocks, a decrease in abstractions has been assessed on balance as being a favourable outcome. Year-on-year estimated direct actual abstraction is likely to fluctuate up or down as a consequence of a range of factors; such as changes in abstraction licences, prevailing weather conditions and changes in patterns of water use. As such, an increase in abstraction may also be observed in the estimates.
The volume of water abstracted from non-tidal surface and groundwater in England and Wales has fallen over the last 20 years from an estimated peak of 16.5 billion cubic metres in 1992 to an estimated 13.7 billion cubic metres in 2012.
Of the 13.7 billion cubic metres abstracted from non-tidal surface water and groundwater in 2012, 42% was for the public water supply and 42% for the electricity supply industry.
The data from this indicator is derived from the UK greenhouse gas emission statistics produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The indicator focuses on the basket of greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto protocol.
This includes material used in the production of imports to the UK which is not incorporated into the product. The indicator has two components: construction materials (e.g. sand and gravel) and non-construction materials (i.e. biomass and minerals). This indicator does not include fossil fuels or other energy carriers.
To better capture patterns in the data, where possible, long term and short term assessments are made on the basis of smoothed data. While percentage changes in these indices are reported based on the most recent unsmoothed data point (2012) any long-term and short-term assessment of the statistical significance of these changes is made using the smoothed data point from 2011. This is because, due to the methods used to produce smooth trends, the most recent smoothed data point (for 2012) is likely to change in next year’s update when additional data are included for 2013. Smoothed data are available for farmland birds, woodland birds and wetland birds, but not for seabirds. All latest year assessments are based on unsmoothed data.
Population and population growth are key drivers behind many challenges for sustainable development as population growth increases the pressure on resources and services. Household projections are an indication of the likely increase in households given the continuation of recent demographic trends. Household formation may increase the pressure for housing or resources and services.
In 2012, the estimated population in England increased to around 53,494,000, of which around 34,307,000 were classed as working age.
The projections of population show that the population of people over working age will continue to increase at a faster rate than the rest of the population.
By 2022 it is projected that 19.3% of the English population will be made up of those over working age compared with 13.4% in 1971.
There was a 38% rise in the number of households in England between 1971 and 2011.
The number of households is projected to continually increase from just over 22 million in 2011 to around 24.3 million in 2021.
This indicator is for context and is not assessed.
Public sector net debt (PSND) as a proportion of GDP increased in the mid 1990s, decreased in 2001–02 and then gradually rose until a sharp upturn in 2009-10. PSND is forecast to rise as a share of GDP to 2015–16, peaking at 78.7% of GDP, before falling to 74.2% of GDP in 2018–19.
On the underlying measure (excluding APF and Royal Mail transfers), Public sector net borrowing (PNSB) as a proportion of GDP declined from the early 1990s to 2000–01. Since 2002-03, PSNB has been broadly around 3% of GDP before increasing sharply between 2007–08 and 2009–10. According to the independent OBR, it is forecast to decline from 7.3% of GDP in 2012–13 to -0.2% of GDP in 2018–19.
As this indicator is a forward look forecast it is subject to revisions, and therefore does not have a traffic light assessment.
Financial security is an important contribution to personal well-being, and pension provision is an important aspect of a sustainable economy. A lack of adequate pension provision (particularly for an ageing population) would have long-term consequences for the sustainability of public finances, the economy and society.
Between 2012 and 2013 the proportion of eligible employees in a pension scheme sponsored by their employer rose 3.2 percentage points to 58%. This reverses the previous downward trend and may reflect the positive impact of the first six months of automatic enrolment implementation. This figure is a fall of 6.4 percentage points from 1997.
A sustainable economy has to maintain the physical capital needed to support production. This measure looks at the extent to which the UK is improving its stock of fixed capital, as measured by the value of its tangible asset base1.
Total estimated non-financial asset net worth increased from £4.7 trillion in 2002 to £7.4 trillion in 2012.
Estimated asset net worth continues to increase with each structure type currently at its highest net worth in the last 10 years.
The estimated net worth of dwellings fell around 9% in 2008 due to a decline in the housing market. A steady recovery in prices alongside additional dwellings has increased the estimated net worth in 2012 to over 2007 levels.
Business innovation and research and development are vital ingredients in raising the productivity, competitiveness and growth potential of modern economies. The indicator compares cash terms (the actual amount spent) and real terms (prices indexed to 2012). By looking at the real terms we can see how much spending has actually increased (whilst controlling for inflation) which allows a better perspective on actual changes in spending.
Research and development spending in cash terms has increased from £11.5 billion in 2000 to £17.1 billion in 2012. Spending decreased between 2011 and 2012 by £0.4 billion from £17.5 billion in 2011.
Research and development spending in real terms has increased from £15 billion in 2000 to £17.1 billion in 2012. The use of real terms shows us that although spending has increased by £5.6 billion (in cash terms) since 2000, it has only increased £2.2 billion in real terms. The discrepancy of £3.4 billion can be explained by price inflation.
Research and development specific to environmental protection by business is important to a sustainable economy through businesses minimising their impact and supporting the local environment.
Research and development related to environmental protection rose from £162.4 million in 2000 to £261.0 million in 2011, but decreased to £150.0 million in 2012. Environmental protection expenditure can be quite volatile and the general trend should be observed.
With the exception of 2009, the amount spent on research and development by business has increased year-on-year between 2006 and 2011.
Moving towards a green economy includes developing opportunities and markets for environmentally oriented goods, services and jobs. The low carbon and environmental goods and services sector could be a key part of future social and economic prosperity.
The value of the environmental goods and services sector has consistently risen between 2007/08 and 2011/12. The sector is now valued at £109 billion.
Renewable Energy is the fastest growing section of the environmental goods and services sector, growing by 6.2% from 2010/11 to 2011/12.
Tangible fixed assets comprise buildings and other structures (including historic monuments), vehicles, other machinery and equipment, and cultivated assets in the form of livestock and orchards.
This indicator presents mortality figures for causes of death that are considered avoidable with timely and effective healthcare, or public health interventions (avoidable mortality). Also presented are trends in mortality by causes considered preventable (if the death could be avoided by public health interventions) or amenable (treatable) to healthcare, which are subsets of total avoidable mortality.
Mortality from causes considered avoidable has decreased by 30% between 2001 and 2012.
Mortality from causes considered amenable has decreased at a faster rate than those considered preventable, declining by 41% and 28% respectively between 2001 and 2012.
Obesity is one of the most serious risks to health in Europe, being linked to diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer. Overweight children are of particular concern, because when unhealthy food habits and an inactive lifestyle continues over years the result is obesity
Between 1993 and 2012, adults that were overweight or obese rose by 9.0 percentage points from 52.9% to 61.9%. The proportion of children aged 2 to 15 that were overweight or obese rose by 2.9 percentage points between 1995 and 2012. These increases could be due to poor diet and sedentary lifestyles amongst the population.
Rates of childhood obesity vary depending on the deprivation level and age of the child. Children from more deprived backgrounds have a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity than those that are less deprived.
A healthy and active population is vital to making the country a more sustainable society. Good diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle can lead to long-term benefits, for both health and general wellbeing.
This indicator features in the Public Health Outcomes Framework for England. Smoking is an unhealthy lifestyle choice that is linked with a range of long-term health problems.
Prevalence of smoking has fallen by 1.6 percentage points between 2009–10 and 2012.
The use of sustainable local travel contributes to improvements in road safety and in public health. This indicator shows the proportion of all trips under five miles by English residents living in an urban area (settlement over 3,000 population) where the main mode of transport was walking or cycling, and public transport.
In 2012, 39% of urban trips under five miles in England were taken by walking or cycling and 8% were taken by public transport.
Since 2007 the proportion of urban trips taken by walking or cycling and public transport has remained similar.
Physical activity is a core aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Lack of sufficient physical activity costs the NHS over £1bn per year to the wider economy – and is one of the top risk factors for premature mortality. This indicator is aligned with the Public Health Outcome Framework (PHOF). Physical activity in this indicator includes sport, recreational cycling, recreational walking, walking and cycling for travel purposes, dancing and gardening. The PHOF defines physically active adults as those adults 'doing more than 150 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity per week in sessions of 10 minutes or more'.
Over half (56%) of the population are undertaking at least the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week.
Just under a third (29%) of the population does less than 30 minutes of exercise per week. In total, 44% of adults are not doing the recommended amount of weekly activity.
Fruit and vegetables are key components to a healthy balanced diet and an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
On average, adults consumed over four portions of fruit and vegetables per day in the three survey years to 2010-11. Children aged between 11 and 18 ate on average fewer than three portions per day.
Trends in fruit and vegetable purchasing from Defra’s Family Food Survey can be presented for low income groups. The statistics are not directly comparable with those from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey because of the different data collection methods used in the surveys. They also reflect portions bought rather than eaten, and do not take into account fruit and vegetables consumed as part of composite dishes.
Daily fruit and vegetable purchases in 2012 were at a similar average level for all households as they were in 2001–2, at 4 portions. There was a temporary increase to an average of 4.4 portions in 2005–6 and 2006.
In 2012 households with the lowest income purchased one portion of fruit and vegetables less per day than the overall average. The trend over time is similar to the overall trend, with 2.9 purchases per person per day both in 2001–2 and 2012, and a temporary increase to 3.5 portions per day in 2005–6.
Birthweight can be an important indicator of community health and health inequalities, which are key issues for the long-term health of our society.
This indicator shows low birth weight of full term live births in England where the birth weight is less than 2,500g, and corresponds with the Public Health Outcome Framework indicators.
In 2011, 2.8% of full term live births had a low birth weight.
The proportion of full term live births that weigh less than 2,500g in England fell by 9.7% between 2005 and 2011.
An analysis of low birth weight by the occupation of parents can highlight any differences between different socio-economic groups. This breakdown is not currently available for full term births so the analysis is presented for all live births. As such it includes premature babies and therefore the proportion of babies born with a low birth weight is higher in Figure 22.2 than in Figure 22.1.
Where the parent’s occupation was routine, manual or long-term unemployed, 7.1% of live births weighed less than 2,500g. For this group, the proportion of live births with a low birth weight decreased between 2005 and 2012.
Where the parent’s occupation was managerial or professional, 6.0% of live births weighed less than 2,500g. Over the period 2005 to 2012, the proportion of live births with a low birth weight in this group decreased slightly.
This means that while there was still a higher rate of low birth weight in births where the parent’s occupation was routine, manual or long-term unemployed. In 2012 the gap between the two socio-economic groups was 1.1 percentage points.
Poor air quality can have effects on health and well-being due to both short-term and long-term exposure. Individuals with existing heart or respiratory conditions are at greater risk of experiencing effects when levels of air pollutants rise. The number of days when air quality is 'moderate or higher' is an indicator of how often air pollution is raised to levels when there is an increased risk of health effects from short-term exposure.
Through improving air quality people will be at less risk from the effects of poor air quality, and may be more likely to spend more time in the natural environment. An improvement in air quality would be reflected by a lower number of pollution days in this indicator.
The average number of pollution days in urban sites in 2013 was 14 days. This compares with 17 days in 2012 and 15 days in 2010. The average number of pollution days in rural sites in 2013 was 16 days, compared with 12 days in 2012 and 10 days in 2010.
This indicator comprises information about noise complaints and exposure to transport noise. It also features in the Public Health Outcomes Framework for England. There are a number of direct and indirect links between exposure to noise and health outcomes such as stress, heart attacks, and other health and well-being issues. Complaints about noise are the largest single cause of complaint to most local authorities, and there is evidence that exposure to noise is a key determinant of health and well-being.
In 2011–12 there was an average of 7.5 complaints about noise per 1,000 people in England.
Between 2006–07 and 2011–12 there have been small fluctuations in the year-on-year number of complaints per 1,000 population.
There is considerable regional variation. Figure 24.2 shows that in 2011–12, the City of London had the highest proportion of complaints with 116 per 1000 population, while the area with the fewest complaints per 1000 population was the Isles of Scilly (1.4).
Fuel poverty is a serious problem from three main perspectives. The first is poverty, because high energy costs can exacerbate difficulties faced by those on low incomes. The second is health and well-being, because it is responsible for a range of issues such as social exclusion, cardiovascular problems and excess winter deaths. The third is carbon, because the energy inefficiency of the homes of those living in fuel poverty is a concern in terms of reducing carbon emissions.
Under this definition, increasing household income helps to reduce the proportion of households, and reducing income has the opposite effect, that is more households enter into fuel poverty. Decreasing fuel prices and/or improvements made to the energy efficiency of the home can also reduce fuel poverty, while rising prices will have the opposite effect.
In 2012 there were 2.3 million fuel poor households in England, 107,000 fewer than in 2011 and 158,000 fewer than in 2003.
There was a sharp decrease in the proportion of fuel poor households in between 2005 and 2006 (166,000 households). Since 2010, the number of fuel poor households decreased year-on-year.
The key sectors of the UK economy will produce differing amounts of emissions. To limit our impact on the world’s climate, it is important that all sectors emit less carbon dioxide over time.
Overall the trend is similar to that seen in the total emissions indicator, with all of the sectors decreasing their emissions in the last decade. Emissions overall decreased in 2013 compared to 2012 due to a reduction in emissions from the energy sector, although there appears to have been a small increase in emissions in several sectors.
Transport emissions grew notably between 1970 and 2000. This is likely to have been a result of private and public transport becoming more accessible to a wider population. From a peak in 2007 transport emissions declined, then remained steady from 2010.
Using renewable resources will make a strong contribution to our energy needs and allow us to be less reliant both on other countries and on non-renewable and less environmentally sound sources of energy.
In the UK during 2012 4.1% of final energy consumption was from renewable sources.
Between 2005 and 2012 the proportion of final energy consumption from renewable sources has almost tripled, from 1.4% to 4.1%. This represents a 2.7 percentage point increase.
More energy efficient dwellings are needed if the UK is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) is a way of assessing and comparing the energy and environmental performance of dwellings.
Housing in the social sector receives higher ratings than those in the private sector.
The average energy efficiency rating of houses in England has improved, with an increase of 14 SAP points in the private sector and 16 points in the social sector between 1996 and 2012.
The energy efficiency rating of new homes is higher than other types of housing; in 2012 new homes were rated as 16 SAP points higher than social sector homes and 23 points higher than private sector homes.
The types of waste we produce, all forms of waste management, and the transport of waste have impacts on the environment. Waste is a potential resource and increased rates of re-use, recycling and energy recovery will result in a lower proportion of waste being disposed of in a way that causes environmental damage.
In order to move towards a European recycling society with a high level of resource efficiency, EU targets for re-use and recycling of household waste have been set. Under the Revised Waste Framework Directive, the EU has set a target for 50% of household waste to be recycled by 2020.
Between 2000/01 and 2012/13 the household waste recycling rate increased from 11% to 43%.
The amount of waste recycled, composted or reused in 2012/13 was 9.8 million tonnes out of a total of 22.6 million tonnes collected from households, a small decrease compared to 2011/12.
The increase in the rate of waste recycling in 2012/13 was the smallest for 12 years, with the rate of increase slowing since its peak around 2004/05.
The EU has identified construction and demolition waste as a priority waste stream. Many of its components have a high resource value and there is high potential for recycling. This type of waste is also one of the heaviest and most voluminous waste streams generated in the EU. Under the Revised Waste Framework Directive, the EU has set a target for 70% of Construction and Demolition waste to be recovered from landfill by 2020.
The UK construction and demolition recovery rate has been close to 90% for all four years that the indicator has been measured.
Construction and demolition waste is disposed of directly at landfill sites, via transfer and treatment facilities, or recycled as aggregate.
Sustainable use of land is important in delivering development, as well as protecting the natural and historic environment.
An increase in land used for permanent grassland and rough grazing between 2000 and 2006 coincided with a decrease in croppable area and land used for other purposes
In 2012, over 78% of land in England was used for commercial agricultural purposes, or forestry and woodland.
The ‘other uses’ category in presented in Figure 30.1 only gives a very broad indication of what land is used for, and includes built-up areas as well as non-commercial agricultural area and other non-agricultural uses. As a result, more detailed figures on land cover have been presented in Figure 30.2, based on detailed satellite images taken between 2005 and 2008.
The data used in this chart is not directly comparable to the data in Figure 30.1. It uses a different data source and data collection methodology, and shows the breakdown for the UK rather than England only.
According to the Land Cover Map, 6% of the UK is covered by urban land, the same as both coniferous and broadleaved woodland.
This indicator is not assessed because the impacts of changes in land use vary depending on local circumstance. Therefore at a national level there is no clear favourable direction for the assessment to measure progress against. However, the indicator is included to provide some general context to patterns of development which can be considered alongside other indicators.
Maintaining a range of supply sources means that any risk to our total food supply is spread. This lowers the impacts of any unforeseen disruptions involving any particular trading partner or from within our domestic agriculture sector. However, it is important that we do not become too reliant on food from overseas as we can ensure higher standards while having a lower carbon footprint by producing food domestically.
Over the last 25 years there has been a noticeable increase in food consumed from the EU and Europe, as opposed to domestically-produced food. However, over 50% of food consumed in the UK is also produced here.
The proportion of food consumed from Asia, Australasia and Africa has remained steady since 1998, but consumption of food from North and South America has increased from 5% in 1988 to 7% in 2013.
This indicator is not assessed as there is no clear favourable direction for the assessment to measure progress against. Food security depends on access to the world market and there are risks both in being fully self-sufficient and fully reliant on other countries.
The indicator shows the biological quality of rivers using data from the Water Framework Directive assessment of water body status. Rivers are assessed as being in ‘high’, ‘good’, ‘moderate’, ‘poor’ or ‘bad’ status through a moving 3-year monitoring programme.
The proportion of rivers at good or high biological quality has shown no significant change between 2009 and 2012.
Between 2009 and 2012 the number of assessments classed as high fell from 304 to 253, and the number of assessments classed as bad fell from 189 to 139. This suggests that there has been a mix of deteriorations and improvements in the biological quality of the water environment.
Changes in water quality can happen for a number of reasons; while some of the differences between years will be due to measurement issues and monitoring locations, factors such as the climate and extreme weather events can also have an impact.
This indicator shows the chemical status of rivers using data from the Water Framework Directive assessment of water body status. Chemical status is assessed from compliance with environmental standards for chemicals that are priority substances and/or priority hazardous substances. A list of priority substances can be found in the Chemical Standards database on the Environment Agency’s website. Chemical status is marked as ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ and is determined by the worst scoring chemical, so if one chemical fails the river is given a failing status.
The number of assessed rivers that have passed the chemical status criteria has increased from 411 in 2009 to 431 in 2012. This suggests that less chemical pollution is being detected in rivers.
Rivers are generally monitored for priority substances where there are known discharges of these pollutants. Rivers without discharges of priority substances are reported as being at good chemical status.
Fish are an integral component of marine biodiversity. They are an important element of the food chain for seabirds, seals, whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and are a very important source of food for people. Sustainable fisheries will help to ensure our marine ecosystems remain diverse and resilient, and provide a long-term and viable fishing industry.
Sustainable fisheries will help to ensure our marine ecosystems remain diverse and resilient, and provide a long-term and viable fishing industry.
In 2011, 47% of the 15 assessed fish stocks around the UK were at full reproductive capacity and were being harvested sustainably. Since 2000, between 27% and 47% of the fish stocks around the UK have been at full reproductive capacity and being harvested sustainably, compared to between 7% and 29% in the years from 1990 to 1999.
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea advice in 2012 showed that most of the UK indicator stocks considered to be harvested sustainably and at full reproductive capacity in 2011 were also being fished at or below the rate, providing long-term maximum sustainable yield.
This indicator shows progress with maintaining and/or restoring favourable conservation status for species and habitat types that the UK has European level conservation responsibilities for. This assessment occurs every six years. Trends in unfavourable conservation status allow identification of whether progress is being made, as it will take many years for some species to reach favourable conservation status.
In 2007 28% of species listed on Annexes II, IV or V of the Habitats Directive were in favourable conservation status, increasing to 41% in 2013.
The conservation status of 19% of species was improving in 2007. In 2013, 11% were improving.
The conservation status of 14% of the species was declining in 2007. In 2013, 16% were declining.
In 2007, 6% of habitats listed on Annex I of the Habitats Directive occurring in England were in favourable conservation status, declining to 3% in 2013.
The conservation status of 49% of habitats was improving in 2007. In 2013, 33% were improving.
The conservation status of 30% of the habitats was declining in 2007. In 2013, 24% were declining.
This indicator is under development in line with the UK Biodiversity Indicator publication and is aimed at assessing the impacts of UK production on global biodiversity.
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