OEP response to Defra’s annual report on progress against its Environmental Improvement Plan

Defra has today (Wednesday, 19 July) published its annual report on its progress against its Environmental Improvement Plan.

Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) Chief of Staff Richard Greenhous said: “We welcome publication of Defra’s Annual Progress Report (APR) on the Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP), noting that it mainly covers progress against the previous 25 Year Environment Plan and just a few months of the refreshed EIP23. We will consider this APR in detail as we prepare our annual EIP progress report, due for publication early next year.

“Our report will include an in-depth look at government’s progress against its plans and targets to improve nature, where urgent action is needed. EIP23 introduced new legally-binding environmental targets, including to halt nature’s decline by December 2030. To meet this, and other targets, government requires clear and coherent delivery plans driving concerted, co-ordinated action, backed by appropriate resources and political will.

“In our first report on government’s progress against its EIP, published in January, we found that the government was not demonstrably on track to achieve its ambitions. We called for better alignment and co-ordination at all levels of Government, local and national, with actions that extended beyond Defra. We also pointed out the need for better targeted and timely data collection and collation, with the goals of the EIP in mind, and improved assessment of progress, with a purpose-driven monitoring, evaluation, and learning framework. In short, better planning for effective delivery.”

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