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NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The following Ministries and Departments are responsible for agriculture and rural development and related policies: The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF); Department of Environment (Rural Development Division); Scottish Office, Rural Affairs and Heritage Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department, the Welsh Office National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Office.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Relevant national legislation covering agriculture and rural development includes: the Agriculture Act 1996, the Food and Environmental Protection Act 1985, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environment Act 1995.

There are a variety of initiatives to encourage environmentally friendly farming, including both incentive schemes and free advice. The incentive schemes are governed by the EC agri-environment regulation (2078/92), to be replaced by Regulation 1257/99 from 1 January 2000 .

Regulation 1257/99 ("the Rural Development Regulation") seeks to simplify the framework for supporting rural development by combining nine former regulations in one to provide a wide range of schemes which are available in principle throughout Member States, not just in areas designated under the Structural Funds. The Regulation lays the foundation for a new European framework in which reforms in the agricultural commodity sectors will be complemented by more closely integrated measures to support rural development and to protect and improve the environment. This twin track approach will bring agricultural and rural policy closer together, recognising that the future of rural areas and communities depends both on farmers’ broader role in sustaining the countryside and local economy and on the adaptation and diversification of rural economies through support to non-farming interests.

The UK has designated 72 Nitrate Vulnerable Zones under the EC Nitrate Directive (91/676). Since December 1998, farmers within the Zones have been required to comply with mandatory measures to control nitrate pollution from agriculture. These include requirements to limit applications of fertilisers and organic manures and to observe closed periods for fertiliser and some applications of livestock manures as well as rules on record keeping and waste handling and storage facilities.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

A Government strategy for alternative crops was issued in 1995. MAFF's Alternative Crops Unit Agri-Industrial Materials Branch is working to take forward the strategy by developing policy, by disseminating information and organising events to encourage new developments on industrial and energy crops. Pesticide Minimisation Policy also aims to promote and encourage sustainable farming practices.

MAFF launched on 26 August 1999 a consultation exercise on the implementation of those areas of the EU’s adopted Agenda 2000 package on the Common Agriculture Policy where national discretion applies; and on a wider-ranging future strategy for agriculture, including rural development measures as well as sector specific measures(i.e. beef, dairy, arable).

The Government is drawing up a Rural White Paper which, among other things, will look at how policies on matters such as the economy, agriculture, health, transport, education, housing, crime, energy efficiency and planning will support rural communities and how rural areas can contribute to the Government’s objectives in these matters. It will also look at how the Government’s regeneration policies can assist deprived rural communities and give rural people the opportunity to participate fully in our society.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

NGOs with interests in this area include: the National Farmers' Union, Country Landowners' Association, Wildlife Trusts, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Council for the Protection of Rural England, Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Statutory agencies are the Countryside Commission Agency, English Nature and English Heritage. There are equivalent organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Programmes and Projects   

The largest agri-environment scheme in the UK is the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) scheme. There are 43 ESAs in the UK, 22 of which are in England, covering 15% and 10% of agricultural land respectively. These areas are all of particularly high landscape, wildlife or historic value, and are threatened by changes in agricultural practices. Within the ESAs farmers can enter into voluntary ten year agreements to undertake specific management practices and, if they wish, to take action to enhance, extend or restore features of particular conservation value.

The Nitrate Sensitive Areas offer five year voluntary agreements to farmers in designated areas for the adoption of practices designed to reduce or stabilise nitrate levels in public water supplies. The Nitrate Sensitive Areas Scheme farmers in designated areas enter into voluntary five year agreements requiring them to follow practices designed to reduce or stabilise nitrate levels in public water supplies. The Scheme has closed to new applicants. The Organic Aid Farming Scheme offers payments to encourage farmers to convert to organic farming. In July 1997 the Government announced its intention to review the rates and structure of aid under this scheme.

In England, outside the ESAs farmers are able to enter into voluntary ten-year Countryside Stewardship agreements which are targeted at specific habitats and landscape types. The Scheme has a wide range of environmental objectives, including sustaining landscape beauty and diversity, protecting and extending wildlife habitats, conserving archaeological sites and historic features, restoring neglected land or features, creating new habitats and landscapes and improving opportunities for people to enjoy the countryside. Over £17 million has been made available over the last three years for the approval of new agreements and in 1999 MAFF plans to approve applications with a total first year cost of £7.5 million.

In addition, in January 1998 MAFF introduced a three-year Arable Stewardship pilot scheme in two areas, West Midlands and East Anglia. This is aimed at restoring wildlife in arable farmland areas. £0.5 million is being made available for new agreements in both 1999 and 2000. In addition, in 1999 it launched a two-year experimental project in two areas, Forest of Bowland and Bodmin, to test an integrated approach to economic and rural economy issues in the uplands.

Other agri-environment schemes include the Moorlands Scheme and the Habitat Scheme. New enhanced options for the uplands have been introduced to supersede the Moorlands Scheme and enhancements to supersede the Habitat Scheme are also being considered. The Countryside Premium Scheme offers similar opportunities in Scotland as does the Countryside Management Scheme in Northern Ireland. . In Wales, "Tir Gofal" embraces the best practices from the existing range of agri-environment schemes.

Status   

Member States are required to draw up seven-year Rural Development Plans to begin on 1 January 2000, describing which measures will be used, the geographical areas covered, the proposed expenditure and the economic, social or environmental justification. Plans are currently being prepared, following consultation, for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The plans must include agri-environment schemes and an appropriate balance of the other measures contained in the Rural Development Regulation.

The Government is also implementing activities to address rural welfare. It has prepared initial plans and is ready to implement farm employment opportunities and establish databases on rural employment.

Other schemes include the Habitat Scheme designed to benefit wildlife on particular types of land, and the Moorland Scheme which promotes the extensification of livestock production on heather and other moorland.

The Government has an extensive research and development programme in agriculture. The results of this work are disseminated to farmers through agriculture advisory services Government sponsored research institutes, and agriculture and related departments in universities and colleges. Plant breeding research is carried out by plan breeders in the private sector. Research has also been commissioned on the awareness, use and promotion of integrated pest management and integrated crop management techniques for farmers and growers.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Since 1992/93, MAFF has funded farm waste management plan campaigns annually in targeted river catchments. In the campaign for 1999/2000 up to 500 farmers will be encouraged to prepare plans which will show how manures and similar organic wastes can be managed on-farm in the most economically and environmentally friendly way. In addition, fFree on-farm advice is offered to farmers on conservation opportunities on their farm. In addition, in June 1996 a free Organic Conversion Information Service was launched providing both a telephone help line and free individual on-farm advice for farmers considering conversion to organic farming.

Information   

MAFF is developing a set of indicators for sustainable agriculture in the UK as a way of measuring the main impacts of agriculture and its contribution to sustainable development. The agriculture indicators are designed to identify the key sustainability issues for the agriculture industry, NGOs and the public at large, in four main areas: socio-economic issues; the environmental impacts of input use; resource use; and conservation value of agricultural land. The aim is to publish a pilot set of indicators later this year.

MAFF has published Codes of Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Water, Air and Soil. Other Agricultural Departments have done likewise. The Codes provide practical advice for avoiding pollution and following good agricultural practice. The Codes complement the advice given in the Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Pesticides on Farms and Holdings (the Green Code).

Research and Technologies  

The LINK programme on Technologies for Sustainable Farming Systems (TSFS) has been established as a mechanism for joint Government and private funding of collaborative research between industrial and science-based partners. The programme will provide strategic research into novel technologies which will lead to new sustainable crop and animal production systems. The LINK programme on TSFS has been extended by one year (closed March 1997) and the total value is expected to be 14.5 million.

Three new LINK programmes (Sustainable Livestock Production, Sustainable Arable Production - SAPPIO, and Horticulture) have been established as a mechanism for joint Government and private funding of collaborative research between industrial and science-based partners. All three programmes fund research into more sustainable production technologies. A previous LINK programme on Technologies for Sustainable Farming Systems (total value of £14.5 million) has already provided strategic research into novel technologies which will lead to new sustainable crop and animal production systems.

Financing  

The Government funded is funding approximately 0,95m £125m worth of research and development in 1995/96 1999/00 focused on agriculture. This figure includes £0.25m d 0,25m on agri-environmental R&D largely concerned with environmental protection and under-pinning the operation of agri-environment schemes, including just over £2 m on R&D related to organic farming.

Cooperation  

The December 1996 Environment Council of the European Union agreed that securing sustainable agriculture is one of the key priority areas in their review of the EU's Fifth Environmental Action Programme. Some EU environmental legislation is specifically aimed at reducing pollution from agriculture (e.g. the Nitrate Directive), while agri-environment schemes introduced under EU Regulations encourage environmentally beneficial agricultural practices. In addition, the EU provides support for rural development under Objectives 1 and 5b of the EU Structural Funds. A Working Group will be formed in the Autumn to progress a strategy for integrating environmental concerns into EU agricultural policy.

The OECD has work underway on the environmental impacts of agricultural policy reform, which will inform meetings of Ministers from OECD countries during 1997/98 and is seeking to develop agri-environmental indicators as a policy tool to help analyse and monitor the current situation and improve the environmental performance of agriculture. The UK is an active participant in this work.

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This information is provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 24 August 1999.

Click here for information on Soils

Click here to link to biosafety web sites in the United Kingdom.

Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.

Click here to link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.

Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.

Click here to link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations

Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.

Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR.

Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

For country reports on Plant Genetic Resources, click here

Click here to access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year.

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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The government department primarily responsible for the issues concerning the protection of atmosphere is the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) which is a member of the national coordinating mechanism for sustainable development.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The United Kingdom signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 12 June 1992 and ratified it on 8 December 1993. The UK supports the aim of ratification and entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol by 2002.

 The United Kingdom signed the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer on 20 May 1985 and ratified it on 15 May 1987; and ratified the Montreal Protocol on 16 December 1988; the London Amendment on 20 December 1991; and the Copenhagen Amendment on 4 January 1995. The UK also signed the Montreal Amendment in 1997 and the Beijing Amendment in 1999.

 In December 1999 the UK signed the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Gothenburg Protocol to abate acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone, which sets national ceilings for emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and ammonia to be achieved by 2010. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, published in January 2000, aims to provide the best practicable protection to human health and the environment by setting health-based objectives for the main local air pollutants and objectives to protect vegetation and eco-systems. The objectives are to be achieved by a range of dates, from 2003-2008. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

The UK Climate Impacts Programme, initiated by the Government in 1997, is designed to encourage a wide range of stakeholders to be involved in the assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation in the UK. The programme has attracted considerable interest from the public and private sectors and a number of regional and sectoral projects are now underway.

Programmes and Projects   

The UK has put in place a comprehensive programme to tackle climate change. Its draft programme, published in March 2000, sets out policies and measures to attain the UK’s Kyoto target of a 12.5% reduction below 1990 levels by 2008-2012 and move towards the domestic goal of a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) below 1990 levels by 2010.

Status   

The basket of six greenhouse gases are projected to be about 15% below the 1990 level in 2000, and CO2 emissions on their own are projected to be about 9% below. This means that the UK will meet its UNFCCC commitment to return greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2000. UK emissions of the 6-gas basket are projected to be about 13.5% below 1990 levels in 2010, with emissions of CO2 about 7% below. These projections reflect the impact of a number of measures the UK has introduced since Kyoto. The UK is therefore also on course to meet its Kyoto target.

 Although cautious about the use of sinks to help meet commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, the Government supports the conservation and enhancement of sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases in general. The Government has taken measures, through grant programmes, to protect existing forests and encourage afforestation as well as undertaken research to improve the quantification of UK sinks. 

National goals concerning the phase-out of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances include: production and consumption of CFCs (except for limited essential uses) phased out by 1995; halons by 1994; carbon tetrachloride by 1995; methyl chloroform by 1996; methyl bromide by 2005; and consumption of virgin HCFCs by 2010 and recycled HCFCs by 2015.

The average number of days per site in the UK in 1999 when air pollution was “moderate” or higher was 30 days, compared with 59 days in 1993.  In rural areas, there were on average 46 days per site in 1999 when air pollution was moderate or higher.  These figures represent an increase on the 1998 levels, largely attributable to transboundary pollution.   The figure below shows the trends in air pollution since 1987.  

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Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

The UK Government has established a set of 15 headline indicators of sustainable development.  One of these measures the average number of days per site on which pollution levels were “moderate” or above National Air Quality Standards. The pollutants included within the indicator are particles (PM10), ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.

There are over 1500 sites across the UK which monitor air quality. Information gathered through these monitoring networks, and through other research projects, is made available through the UK National Air Quality Information Archive. This archive, together with details of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory, can be found on the Internet at: http://www.aeat.co.uk/netcen/airqual/

The UK’s draft climate change programme can be found on the Internet at: http://www.environment.detr.gov.uk/climatechange/draft/index.htm

Research and Technologies  

Climate Change/ Stratospheric Ozone

The UK carries out a wide range of research on climate change. The Government funds the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, a world leading centre for climate change research. The Hadley Centre monitors global and national climate trends and develops state of the art ocean-atmosphere coupled climate models. It uses them to provide long term global and regional projections of climate change and estimates of the extent to which climate change so far is attributable to human activities. The UK also supports a variety of activities relevant to Global Climate Observing Systems (GCOS).

The Research Councils support significant programmes of research linked to climate change. Three of the Research Councils have formed an interdisciplinary centre for climate research with a budget of up to £10 million over five years.

The UK has a strong involvement in research into stratospheric ozone depletion and undertakes long term monitoring of the total atmospheric ozone column over the UK and Antarctica. The UK participates in co-ordinated European Research projects such as the Third European Stratospheric Experiment on Ozone. The Natural Environment Research Council has several strategic research initiatives into atmospheric chemistry that contribute greatly to the understanding of stratospheric ozone depletion. The UK has always made a very significant contribution to the WMO/UNEP scientific assessments of the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.

Air Quality

The Government sponsors various research projects monitoring levels of nitrogen in the air and in waters, and projects intended to explain the fluxes of oxidised and reduced nitrogen between the various environmental media and vegetation. Models have been developed to describe and predict the movement of nitrogen and its likely environmental impacts.  The Natural Environment Research Council has also chosen nitrogen as a priority area for basic research. Its GANE programme is intended to provide better explanations for and characterisations of the nitrogen cycle.

The UK has an extensive hydrocarbon monitoring network, providing real-time monitoring of 26 compounds at 13 locations. This, together with 71 monitoring stations for ground-level ozone and the development of sophisticated models for ozone transport and formation, is enabling the UK to better understand the occurrence of ozone in the UK. The UK takes particular pride in the continuing research designed to describe the chemistry leading to the formation and removal of ozone, and its incorporation into models. Model development is now most apparent in accounting for ozone transport across transcontinental distances. Under the UNECE Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution, the UK leads the International Co-operative Programme on Vegetation, whose main focus is on assessing the vegetation stock at risk from ozone.

The UK also has similar programmes for acid rain, heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants.

Technology

UK companies are among the world leaders in monitoring of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances and developing alternative technologies.

The Government works closely with private companies to facilitate technology transfers to developing countries. In monetary terms, this transfer amounted to US$8.75 million multilateral aid in 1995, which is similar to figures for previous years.

Financing  

The Government is sponsoring the Carbon Trust, an organisation set up to recycle £130 million of climate change levy receipts to help promote low carbon technologies and business energy efficiency. In the field of renewable energy, the Government has earmarked £40 million to promote off-shore wind over 3 years, and £12 million for energy crops over 3 years. A range of government-funded programmes have been set up to promote technological development in the transport sector, such as ‘Powershift’ which provides grants towards the purchase of electric vehicles.

From 1992 to 1997 the Government contributed US$15,1 million to the Vienna Convention/ Montreal Protocol trust funds and has contributed some US$49 million to the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol to assist developing countries. 

The UK has committed over £215 million to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the financial mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Cooperation  

The UK supports international action to reduce transboundary air pollution.  The UK has already achieved its targets under the 1988 EC Large Combustion Plant Directive to cut emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from large combustion plants by 2003 and 1998 respectively. The UK is also well on course to achieve its target under the UNECE Second Sulphur Protocol of an 80% reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions by 2010. 

On air pollution from ships, the UK supports Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) which, on entry into force, will designate the North Sea and Baltic Sea as low sulphur fuel zones.

The UK participates in the Global Ozone Observing System and as of 1997, has two observation stations.

 No one country can hope to address effectively all the scientific issues associated with climate change and UK scientists are active in many international collaborative research programmes relevant to climate change, including the World Climate Research Programme and the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme.

 The UK plays a significant role in the work of the WMO/UNEP-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was set up in 1988 to assess the scientific, technical and socio-economic aspects of climate change. The Government funds expert support for the Working Group I co-chair Sir John Houghton and provides expenses for UK lead authors involved in the preparation of the Third Assessment Report and other IPCC reports. 

The Department for International Development (DFID) aims to eliminate poverty by a number of means including protection and better management of the natural and physical environment.   Through its bilateral programmes, the UK is working to improve its understanding of the possible impacts of climate change on developing countries. It hopes to help poorer countries take account of these in their development planning in order to reduce their future vulnerability.  It is also working to help them improve their energy efficiency and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  

The UK also provides bilateral technical assistance for environmental projects to countries in transition through the Environmental Know How Fund (EKHF). Current projects include: the development of an Air Quality Monitoring and Management System for Budapest, which will serve as a model for other towns and cities in Hungary; and best practice guidance for environmental management and energy efficiency in the iron and steel sector in Romania.  

Recent projects include: support for the World Bank's air pollution abatement programme in Bulgaria; and support for the World Bank's National Commitment Building Programme to Phase Out Lead from Gasoline in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the introduction of clean-coal technologies in the Romanian and Ukrainian power sectors; and advice on the approximation of EU air legislation in the Baltic States.  

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 This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the eighth and ninth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: November 2000..

Click here for information on air quality in the UK

Click here for information on endocrine-disrupting substances in the environment

Click here to access the Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) Public Register Click here for national information from the Web site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

For the Montreal Secretariat, click here.

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BIODIVERSITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Natural Heritage (Scotland) Act 1991 reorganized the way nature conservation was administered by creating separate agencies for England, Scotland and Wales and a Joint Nature Conservation Committee to co-ordinate UK international functions.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 provide a statutory framework for the conservation of land important for wildlife, natural features and the protection of birds and other endangered wild plants and animals.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The UK Action Plan on Biodiversity was published in January 1994. The plan defined 59 broad targets for forward action and provided a strategy for the next 10 and 20 years to conserve and enhance wild species and wildlife habitats.

A Biodiversity Steering Group, comprising representatives from central and local government, agencies, business and leading academic and non-governmental bodies, was appointed to implement the commitments and develop a range of specific targets for key species and habitats for the years 2000 and 2010.

The report of the Group of December 1995 recommended that local plans and targets be developed as part of Local Agenda 21 in addition to national targets. The report also contained guidance in developing Local Biodiversity Action Plans, and a number of other proposals aimed at increasing public awareness and involvement of biodiversity by various sectors including the media. The Government response of May 1996 endorsed the aims and main proposals in the report as the basis for follow up action. To date over 100 Local Biodiversity Action Plans are in various stages of preparation. Organisations involved in these plans include local government, the statutory and voluntary nature conservation sectors, landowners, business and the local community. This very much reflects the fruitful partnership approach that has been a feature of national work in biodiversity.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

Implementation of the action plans is being co-ordinated by the UK Biodiversity Group, chaired by the DETR. This is supported by four country Groups; England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These groups are chaired and serviced by the relevant territorial Departments. Development of a strategy on public awareness is currently an important task for the UK Group. In addition, three further groups have been established with responsibility for Information and Data, Target Setting and Local Issues.

Particular emphasis is given to partnership, and continuing the cross-sectoral approach which has proved so successful. 'Champions' from non-government sectors, including business and industry, have been invited to join the Government and its agencies in contributing to implementation of the individual species action plans.

The report of the Biodiversity Steering Group contained action plans for 116 species and recommended the preparation of action plans for 286 more species within 3 years. 1,252 species were recommended for monitoring. 38 key habitats were identified for early conservation action: 14 had costed action plans published as part of the report, which recommended that the other 24 habitats had action plans prepared for them within 3 years. The UK is the first country in the world to prepare costed action plans in this degree of detail.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

The UK Local Issues Group published the first tranche of Local Guidance in April 1997. This guidance is aimed at assisting everyone involved in developing Local Biodiversity Action Plans throughout the UK. The first four Guidance Notes in the series cover: Partnerships; How Local Plans Relate to other Plans; Evaluating Priorities and Target Setting. A fifth Guidance Note on Delivery Mechanisms will be produced towards the end of 1997.

A detailed report on progress in implementing the action plans will be made to Government by the UK Biodiversity Group every five years with the first report due in the year 2000 - a Millennium Biodiversity Report.

There has been no comprehensive base line survey in the UK. However, other mechanisms are in place to monitor the component parts of biodiversity resources where data could be used as a base line.

The Countryside Survey made a major contribution to knowledge of biodiversity in the countryside. There are plans to undertake another major survey in the year 2000.

The UK Action Plan recognised the need for better access to information particularly at local level. To this end a National Biodiversity Network consortium has been established: a partnership of local and national custodians of biodiversity data. Their overall aim is establish, within agreed standards, a conduit to provide complete access to information about the state of the nation's wildlife regardless of where this information is held. The consortium are currently leading a number of projects to establish the foundations of the network

Research and Technologies  

Research on biological diversity is carried out by various Government Departments, educational establishments, the private sector and research councils etc.

Financing  

The UK has spent 34 million to support 51 projects concerned with biodiversity under the UK Aid Programme. The UK has committed a total of 190 million to the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Cooperation  

The UK is a major funder of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, a contributor to the European Cooperative Programme for Crop Genetic Resource Networks, and a member of the FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources. The UK has participated in discussions leading to the adoption of the EU Regulation on the conservation, characterization, collection and utilization of Genetic Resources in Agriculture.

The Darwin Initiative for the Survival of the Species enables UK expertise in the field of biodiversity to aid those countries rich in biodiversity but poor in resources to meet their obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity. This 15 million initiative is already funding 145 projects with links to more than 70 countries.

The United Kingdom ratified The Convention on Biological Diversity on 3 June 1994; the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora on 2 August 1976; and the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage on 29 May 1984. The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals entered into force in the United Kingdom on 1 October 1985.

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This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 30 May 1998.

Click here for information on the campaign against illegal poisoning of wildlife.

Click here for information provided by the Global Wildlife Division, including information on implementation of CITES and CMS

Click here for information on the Conference on Biodiversity and a Sustainable Countryside (March 1998) here to link to biosafety web sites in the United Kingdom.

Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.

Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP=s International Register on Biosafety.

Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP=s International Register on Biosafety

For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here

For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here

For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here.

For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here.

For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, click here.

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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The UK has no areas which fall within the Agenda 21 definition of a desert, nor any areas which are likely to. However, it has played a full part in the workings of the International Desertification Convention. Through the UK Department for International Development the UK provides substantial funding designed to counter the effects of desertification in developing countries. Furthermore, the UK has participated in funded studies by Natural Resources Institute/ UN Development Programme on desertification indicators and participatory planning.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification on 18 October 1996.

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This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 30 May 1998.

For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here.

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ENERGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is responsible for general energy issues, except for CHP (Combined Heat and Power). Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) looks after issues related to transportation, the atmosphere and energy efficiency including CHP.

The two Departments take the lead on setting policy for the area which it has responsibility. This is done in consultation, at all levels, with other Departments that have a direct interest in the policy in question.

Decision-making is delegated to lowest practical level to devolved administrations and local government.

The energy production and distribution are all run by the private sector. Its role is coordinated with state agencies through a memorandum of understanding.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The UK (United Kingdom) Government will implement European Union legislation as it is agreed and this will be implemented in place of domestic legislation.

Main legislations concerning UK's sustainable energy straategy include those such as IPPC (Integrated Pollution and Prevention and Control), packaging Regulations, climate change levy, direct help such as fuel poverty, EESOPS (Energy efficiency standards of performance), EST (Energy Savings Trust), CARBON TRUST incorporating Best Practice Programmes.

The Climate Change Levy will be payable on the use of energy in industry, commerce and the public sector, the revenue raised being recycled via offsetting cuts in employers’ National Insurance Contributions and additional support for energy efficiency schemes and renewable sources of energy. The basic design of the levy follows the recommendations made in Lord Marshall’s report Economic Instruments and the Business Use of Energy, published in October 1998.

Recent consultations have taken place on changes to the Energy Efficiency Standards of Performance scheme, amendments to the energy efficiency of the Building Regulations, and the provisions of the Home Energy Conservation Act.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Short and long term goals of sustainable energy policy of the Government are to reduce energy consumption and minimum waste whilst achieving a diversity of energy supply, access and distribution in a free market environment.

The UK Government recognises that emissions trading has a key role to play in the long term solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and in helping the transition to a lower carbon economy. The UK Emissions Trading Group (ETG) is developing proposals for a domestic scheme, and presented an outline for a scheme to the Government in March 2000. The aim is to have a broad framework in place by April 2001, with companies taking on binding emissions targets from January 2002.

Government has announced that it is actively working towards a target of at least 10,000 MW of installed Combined Heat and Power capacity by 2010, and is currently formulating a strategy to achieve this.  The strategy, which is to be issued for consultation, will include a range of measures, including a commitment to review progress and ensure the UK is on track to meet this target.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

NGOs, consumer groups and other major interest groups influence the energy consumption pattern in the country through NACBE (Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment), Energy Forums/Advisory Panels Foresight/Energy users council and other such fora.

Programmes and Projects   

In June 2000 the New Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (New HEES) was launched.  The main aim of New HEES is to alleviate fuel poverty through improvements in energy efficiency, focusing particularly on those most at risk from cold-related ill health: the elderly and families on low incomes and the disabled and chronically sick.

The Government continues to support the work of the Energy Saving Trust raising the profile of energy efficiency in the domestic sector.    We are also in the process of establishing a “Carbon Trust” - an independent, not-for-profit company limited by guarantee charged with accelerating the take-up of low carbon technologies by business. It will manage the business elements of the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme, providing energy efficiency advice and audit, and will also carry out strategic studies.  It will also run an integrated programme of market deployment measures ranging from advice & information, fiscal incentives, education & training, and research, development & demonstration.

Initiatives , rather than legislation, promote sustainable energy and environmentally sound consumption patterns.  Such initiatives include Energy Saving Trust, the forthcoming Carbon TRUST, the Energy Efficiency and Environmental Technology Best Practice Programmes, the Waste Strategy, the UK response to climate change, Greening government, IPPC (Integrated Pollution and Prevention and Control), packaging Regulations, the promotion of CHP (Combined Heat and Power) and renewable energy, and climate change levy. Other initiatives include EESOPS (Energy efficiency standards of performance), fuel poverty (HEES: Home Energy Efficiency Scheme) and Going for Green.

Major programmes undertaken to enhance the accessibility of energy to urban and rural households include the following:

 The Fuel Poverty programme provides alternatives to  unsustainable energy sources to urban and rural households for their consumption, as well as supplies energy to low-income households.

The main programmes undertaken to cut down emission of greenhouse gases and reduce GHG concentration in the atmosphere include: Climate Change programme, Climate Change Levy, and Fuel Duty Escalator.  The programmes aimed at reducing emissions from the usage of petroleum-based fules for transport include: Fuel Duty Escalator, EEBPP (Energy and Environment Best Practice Programme)(Fleet Transport), and the Power Shift.  The programmes aimed at promoting energy conservation in the country consist of: Energy Efficiency, Environment Technology and Waste BPP's Best Practice Programmes, "Are you doing your bit "campaign, and EST (Energy Savings Trust) programmes.

Status   

The Government has initiated and supported a range of programmes and initiatives to encourage the efficient use of energy in all sectors. 

The UK continues to be committed to working at international level to encourage global responsibility and action, not only in relation to climate change, but also more widely in terms of the environmental impact of energy generation and use.  In March 2000, the UK Government with the devolved administrations published a draft of the UK’s Climate Change Programme aimed at meeting its Kyoto target and moving towards its domestic goal as outlined above.  The final programme is due to be published by the end of 2000.

The UK has natural coal resources, in addition to natural gas and oil reserves.

Access to electricity is very good except some problems with restore locations and availability of supply.

Overall consumption of coal has been reduced, particularly for electricity generation. There has however been almost corresponding increase in natural gas consumption. Oil use has been reasonably steady. There is more interest in burning wood and waste products. Nuclear is likely to decline over next 20 years. Small increase in renewable resources.

Energy market is fully market enabled with no major changes likely but general trend away from energy supply to activity suppliers and other related services.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Tendering training is an element of EEBPP (Energy and Environment Best Practice Programme).  Motivational and educational advertisements are used to educate consumers on energy and environment related issues.

Major media campaign to reduce consumption  undertakes EST (Energy Savings Trust) promotions.

Information   

No information is available  

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

In March 2000, the Chancellor announced that enhanced capital allowances would be available on energy saving products within a list of generic technologies. 

Cooperation  

No information is available

 *  *  *

This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the eighth and ninth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: November 2000.

Click here for information on the Substitute Fuels Protocol.

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FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The responsibility for individual components of the National Forest Programme are spread across many Ministries and Agencies.

In the UK there is close co-operation between Government Departments and Agencies. Forestry therefore features in the UK’s integrated land management strategy/ policy.

Although many of the issues identified in the IPF proposals for action are catered for to some extent by existing arrangements in the UK, responsibilities for individual components of the UK national forest programme are spread across many Ministries and Agencies and policies are contained in a number of different sources. Many players do not necessarily see themselves as having a part to play in sustainable forest management, even though their activities have an influence on sustainable forest management.

The UK will revisit the arrangements for allocating forest-related responsibilities between Government departments, the mechanisms for co-ordination and the ways in which other stakeholders are involved.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The national forest programme for the UK is not contained in a single document, but in a number of key documents. The UK Forestry Standard, published in 1998, sets out how these principles of sustainability will be delivered in practice, bringing together in one document a wide range of detailed guidance. The Standard:

The Government is committed to monitoring performance against these criteria and will continue to develop and refine the Standard and report on progress.

The criteria developed for the UK are based on the resources attributable to forests: Soils; Water; Air; Trees; Biological diversity; Workforce; Communities; Heritage and Landscapes. To allow progress to be monitored, criteria are supported by measurable or assessable "indicators", both at the national level and at the level of the forest management unit.

Results from monitoring exercises, in all their different forms, will influence policy, regulations, incentives and guidance, including the Standard itself.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Cross-sectoral policies related to forests are harmonised through close inter-departmental co-ordination and joint representation in international fora.

The UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS) was launched in June 1999. The UKWAS is a voluntary scheme in support of sustainable forest management, developed by a partnership of forestry and environmental organizations in response to the growing consumer demand for timber products from sustainably managed forests. The certification process is voluntary and represents a new way of doing business for the broader forest community so that UK forestry continues to improve its environmental and economic performance. By the end of the year 2000, the Forestry Commission wants all the forest it manages to be certified under the UKWAS.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

Forestry policy is delivered by a wide range of bodies including central and local Government, wildlife and countryside agencies, voluntary bodies and the forestry industry. A number of fora exist to encourage communication between different interest groups. These mechanisms enable major groups such as rural communities, trade associations, NGOs, local authorities, scientists and academics to be consulted and actively involved in forestry.

Programmes and Projects   

A national forest programme for the UK was mapped out, defining the major elements, responsibilities and actors in the public, private and voluntary sectors who have responsibility for individual aspects of the nfp. This task was undertaken in the context of the Government’s review of its strategy for sustainable development with the aim of developing a more integrated approach and improving the co-ordination of the mechanisms and processes that deliver the national forest programme in the UK.

The individual proposals were sifted and assessed and a preliminary review identified actions already underway and by whom, and considered what else needed to be done. The relevance of the proposals was assessed and they were clustered into common themes and subjects, to reduce technical language and repetition. Consultation with stakeholders on how to move forward with implementation followed.

A distinction was made between the relevance of proposals at the national level (i.e. relevance to the UK forest sector) and their relevance within the wider context of international discussions, and development co-operation in particular.

For the most part, it was found that the proposals did not represent radical new departures in thinking about forests. Much of what was proposed was underway in the UK and in the UK’s partner countries, and the proposals are only one of many sources of influence and guidance about how countries should change, in their own interests and in that of the wider international community.

Status   

In 1997 at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session, the Prime Minister reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to sustainable forest management. The UK has agreed in the context of international processes to produce a national forestry programme and the Government is preparing a strategy for delivering sustainable forest management in the UK, updating the 1994 "Sustainable Forestry - the UK Programme" to be published later in 1999. The Government’s approach is based on better management of existing woodlands and continuing expansion of our woodland area.

The UK (represented by the Forestry Commission and the Department for International Development) assessed the relevance of the proposals for action in the context of the 6-Country Initiative.

Reafforestation can make a useful contribution to UK balances of non-atmospheric carbon. Trees extract carbon from the air as they grow at a typical rate of two tonnes per hectare per year, and the rate can be as high as six tonnes. As timber is a renewable resource, there are advantages in using this rather than fossil fuels. The burning of timber not only helps to reduce the rate at which fossil fuels are depleted, but is also beneficial to the control of atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. The process of growth, harvesting and combustion is largely carbon-neutral except for the consumption of fuel in the course of cultivation and harvesting, but this is usually less than the cost of exploiting fossil fuel.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

Information is made available through various consultation networks, in publications and through the Internet. The Forestry Commission, like many other Government Departments, has its own website (www.forestry.gov.uk)

All of the criteria and indicators used in the UK are considered to be useful in assessing progress towards sustainable forest management.

References:

Forestry Commission web site : www.forestry.gov.uk

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

Grants are available for planting which aims to create wildlife habitats, recreation opportunities, enhance landscapes etc as well as to produce timber

Cooperation  

The UK played an active role in the IPF and continues to play a key role in the IFF. The UK participated in a number of intersessional initiatives, including the 6-Country Initiative in support of the IFF which explored how the IPF proposals for action could be put into practice at the national level, in a way that meets the circumstances of individual countries.

The UK plays an active part in the Pan-European Process.

The UK plays an active part in the international debate on sustainable forestry and we have sought to ensure that the UK continues to bring its influence to bear in promoting sustainable forest management.

The UK also plays an active role in the forestry discussions within the G8 Process. The G8 Action programme on Forests, launched at the Birmingham Summit in 1998 addresses monitoring and assessment, protected areas, support to the private sector, national forest programmes and illegal logging. G8 countries will report on actions taken at the G8 Summit in Japan in 2000.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 5 October 1999.

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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Environment Agency (EA) is charged with protecting water resources, the quality of water in inland and coastal waters and the natural aquatic environment. The corresponding authorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland have similar functions. They all participate, as appropriate, in international water monitoring programmes.

Work is in progress to convert current water quality standards into legally-binding quality objectives. The Government considers that such an arrangement would facilitate the environmentally sustainable management of water resources, including the protection of aquatic ecosystems and freshwater living resources.

The Environment Act 1995 amended the Water Quality Industry Act 1991, and required placing a duty on water companies to promote the efficient use of water by their customers.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

All dwellings and other buildings in the UK have adequate supplies of wholesome drinking water and drainage. Public water supplies must meet statutory standards for microbiological, chemical and organoleptic parameters. In accordance with the requirements of the European Community Directive, regular sampling and testing are carried out to make sure that these standards are met.

About 96% of dwellings are connected to the public sewerage systems. The Environment Agency (EA), in England and Wales, and the parallel authorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland lay down legally required standards for all sewage discharges to inland, estuarial and coastal waters. All sewage discharged to inland waters is given at least secondary treatment before discharge.

A major investment programme is being developed to ensure compliance with the European Community's Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. Remaining discharges from public sewage systems will be given primary treatment before discharge, and such discharges will be limited to the areas where comprehensive scientific studies show that no harm to the local or regional environment can be expected from such limited treatment.

The quality of drinking water continues to improve: the Drinking Water Inspectorate's annual report published in 1996, showed that of 3 million tests made during 1995, 99,7% met the stringent requirements of the regulations. The improvement of water treatment plants has led to the elimination of trace exceedences of pesticides. However, Cryptosporidium - a minute parasite which causes serious gastro-enteritis - continues to be a difficult organism to eliminate completely.

Demand for water has been growing at 1% a year for over 25 years. An action programme is being developed to deal with approximately 40 cases where over-abstraction has resulted in unacceptably low flows in rivers.

An investment programme is under way to deal with problems in the water supply system - particularly in combating leakage in the distribution system, where mains installed long ago are in need of replacement. Water companies now have to meet mandatory targets for the reduction of leakage.

The Government supports the introduction of pollution control charges and is developing economic instruments and measurements for water pollution. In the future the government intends to publish a discussion paper on this topic while exploring the feasibility of trial applications.

Research results on the implications of climate change on water resources have been published. To illuminate further the implications of climate change, a desk study of the economic impacts of the exceptional summer of 1995 was carried out, and work continues as part of the UK Climate Impacts Programme which takes an integrated approach to impact assessment across various sectors. Water resource yields have been re-assessed in England and Wales. The implications of various climate change scenarios for those yields are being studied. In July 1997, the Government launched a review of the water abstraction licensing system in England and Wales.

The government is committed to improve coastal water and river quality, including specific class changes to some 1000 km of rivers by 2000, bringing bathing waters fully to EC Directive standards by mid-1990s, reducing inputs of North Sea Priority List substances by 50% between 1985 and 1996, and halve atmospheric inputs of 17 harmful substances by 1999.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing  

The Environment Agency is financed through charges on the abstraction and discharge of water to inland and coastal waters, thus ensuring the application of the "polluter pays" principle.

Cooperation  

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands came into force in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 5 May 1976.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 30 May 1998.

Click here for information provided by Drinking Water Inspectorate.

Click here for a consultation paper on Water Charging in England and Wales - A New Approach.

Click here for information on Public Health and Drinking Water: Preventing Cryptosporidium Getting into Public Drinking Water Supplies

Click here for information on Bathing Water Quality.

Click here for information on River Habitat Survey.

Click here for information on River Gauging Stations.

Click here for information on Aesthetic quality of rivers.

Click here for information on Policy and Practice for Protection of Flood Plains

Click here to access Water Abstraction And Impounding Register

Click here to access Water Quality And Pollution Control Public Register

Click here for information on National Environment Programme for Water Companies

Endocrine-disrupting substances in environment

Click here to visit the Web Site of the Ramsar Convention.

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Environment Act 1995 introduced a specific regime for the identification and regulation of contaminated land, building on and clarifying the more general existing statutory controls. The system will operate within a framework of statutory guidance from the government and site-specific technical advice and guidance from the new environment agencies, enabling controls to be applied consistently. The overall emphasis of policy is on allowing the market and voluntary action - which are both normal processes of development - to bring improvements to formerly contaminated land.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing  

In 1996/97, around 225 million of Government money was given to English Partnerships to assist developments on such land, which includes the Derelict Land Grant paid to English Partnerships as agents. Money is also set aside for such bodies as the Welsh Development Agency and Scottish Enterprise.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 30 May 1998.

Click here for information on Land Use Planning

Click here for basic statistical data for countries in ESCAP region, including statistics on demographics, education, employment, energy, national accounts, external trade, finance and production, land use, transport and international tourism.

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MOUNTAINS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Social, economic and cultural incentives for sustainable mountain management in Scotland include: management agreements between owners and the Scottish Natural Heritage to protect areas of high natural heritage value; and Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) schemes which offer incentives to farmers to manage land in the interest of conservation, the Community Woodland Grant Scheme, and the Rural Challenge and Rural Strategic Support funds.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

In the Welsh mountain systems, land use policies are under preparation for Ceredigion, Brecknock, Montgomery, Dinefwr and Radnorshire. Official bodies for the Welsh mountain system include: Countryside Council for Wales, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Snowdonia National Park Authority and Sambrian Mountains.

The upland and mountain areas of Scotland provide homes and livelihood for thousands of people. Their sustainable development is a matter of importance to the UK Government, for the mountain areas are part of the general economic and social structure of the United Kingdom. In recognition of this importance, the Secretary of State for Scotland established the Cairngorns Partnership who have prepared a Management Strategy for the Cairngorns massif and surrounding area. The relevant authorities have also prepared proposals for the future management of the Loch Lomond & Trossachs area.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

The following NGOs are involved in mountain issues: National Farmers' Union (Scotland), Cairngorns Partnership, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (Scotland), Scottish Wildlife and Countryside Link, John Muir Trust, Save the Cairngorns Campaign and Friends of Loch Lomond.

NGOs involved in mountain issues in Wales include: National Farmers Union, Farm Union of Wales, National Trust, Mountain Rescue, Prince of Wales Committee, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, among others.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status

There are no parts of the UK designated by the European Union as "mountain areas", but the vast majority of designated Less Favored Areas (LFAs) in the UK are in upland areas.

The Secretary of State for Scotland has announced his intention to establish National Parks in Scotland, the management of which will reflect the particular circumstances relevant to Scotland, and it is envisaged that the Loch Lomond & Trossachs area and the Cairngorns will be the earliest to be established by the Scottish Parliament following its establishment.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available.

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

In 1996, Scotland played host to the first session of the European Inter-Governmental Consultation on sustainable Mountain Development held in the Cairngorns; the second session followed in Trento, Italy.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 30 May 1998.

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OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is responsible for the sustainable development of coastal areas. The Environment Agency also has a significant role in coordinating anti-pollution and anti-flooding measures in England and Wales. Departments with specific responsibilities (such as the Department of Trade and Industry for oil and gas exploitation) are responsible for coordinating the planning and implementation of national strategies on these issues in conjunction with other Departments.

The Urban Waste water Treatment Directive sets priorities for the treatment of sewage according to the nature and sensitivity of the area receiving the sewage discharge and the size of the discharge. For the most significant discharges, the Directive specifies secondary treatment as the norm but provides for higher standards of treatment for discharges to sensitive areas and at least primary treatment for discharges to areas with high natural dispersion characteristics. The Directive will also require an end to the disposal of sewage sludge at sea by the end of 1998.

The EC's Shellfish Waters Directive is designed to protect or improve coastal waters that will support gastropod and bivalve molluscs. Through the Bathing Water Directive, substantial progress has been made in improving the quality of UK bathing waters. The private sector is addressing these requirements through the UK water industry's capital programme.

The UN Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks has been signed by the UK and EU, and the ratification process is under way. Any response to the Code of Conduct of Responsible Fishing, adopted at the FAO Conference in November 1995, will be made collectively by the EU since UK Fisheries are managed under the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The UK's national policy on oceans is integrated into a national strategy. An integrated coastal area management programme has also been implemented. The following national policies have been partially addressed: coastal vulnerability assessment; identifying on-going and planned programmes for the systematic observation of the marine environment, integrating activities and establishing priorities; and research to determine the biological effects of increased levels of ultraviolet rays due to depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.

Sewage related issues are rated by the Government as "very important" in all areas and policy gaps are being addressed in the area of coastal outfalls. The Government is committed to phasing out the dumping of waste from collieries at sea by 1997, and the dumping of sewage sludge by the end of 1998.

The UK has taken steps to reduce inputs of organohalogens in water bodies, but does not believe that full elimination is currently achievable or that these substances should be treated as a uniform group.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

Major Groups participate fully at the national and local level.

Programmes and Projects 

A wide range of monitoring techniques are deployed as part of systematic programmes.

Status 

Regular assessments of coastal and marine areas have been undertaken since 1987. The Government supports improvements of local and national programmes. Human resource development and training, as well as public education and awareness building, are considered important. A wide range of monitoring techniques are deployed as part of systematic programmes.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available.

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

The United Kingdom ratified United Nations Convention on Law of Sea on 25 July 1997.

The UK cooperates in many international science programmes including : the International Council for the Exploration of the SEA (ICES), the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the scientific working groups of the London Convention, and of the Oslo and Paris Commissions, Global Oceans Observing System (GOOS), World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environment Protection (GESAMP), Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), European Union (EU) Programmes, and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP).

It is the government's policy to support the implementation of relevant and effective UN programmes in the area of strengthening international and regional cooperation, e.g. GEF. The UK has committed US$200 million to the GEF. The UK hosted a workshop in 95 on the role of environmental science in policy-making as part of inter-sessional work for CSD 96.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 30 May 1998.

To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here.

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TOXIC CHEMICALS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The UK has comprehensive legislation in place covering the manufacture, distribution, use and disposal of chemicals and major hazards, at both national and European Union level. Pesticides and biocides are subject to statutory approval procedures and conditions of use are specified to ensure protection of human health and the environment. Human and veterinary pharmaceuticals are also subject to statutory market authorisation schemes.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

It is UK Government policy to restrict pesticide use to the minimum necessary for effective pest control, subject to overriding considerations of human health and environmental impact. A Pesticides Forum has been established to promote this policy, and an Action Plan for the Responsible Use of Pesticides was published in 1997.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

The UK participates actively in UN programmes on international trade in chemicals, including the prior informed consent procedure, under the UNEP London Guidelines and EU Regulation 2455/92. The UK has also taken an active part in negotiations on global harmonisation of classification and labelling of chemicals, the legally binding instrument on PIC and the proposed UNECE Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Status 

Industrial chemicals placed on the market for the first time and high priority existing chemicals are evaluated for effects on human health and the environment under EU legislation. The UK completes about 100 assessments of new chemicals and 10 assessments of high tonnage chemicals each year as part of EU and OECD programmes. When the assessments identify potential risks to health or the environment control measures are taken under appropriate legislation, including controls on marketing and use when necessary. In addition, the UK actively participates in the production of IPCS Environmental Health Criteria Documents and Concise International Chemical Assessment Documents (CICADs).

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available.

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

The UK reviewed 30 assessments of chemicals from other OECD countries.

The Draft Directive on Control of Major Hazards (COMAH) ensures the uniform implementation and enforcement of accident prevention and control measures across the EC.

In October 1995 the UK Government hosted a conference seeking expert views on how to develop and pursue a policy on minimisation of use of agricultural pesticides. Following a recommendation from the conference, and independent Pesticides Forum was set up, bringing together a range of interested parties representing farmers, growers, manufacturers, distributors, advisors, retailers and environmental interests. The Forum met for the first time in May 1996 and has since published an Action Plan for discouraging pesticide use.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 30 May 1998.

Click here for Strategy on Chemicals in Environment.

Click here for information on Special Wastes, including Hazardous Wastes.

Click here to access Register of Waste Management Licences

For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here

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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Solid Waste and Sanitation

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 came into force on 6 March 1997. Developed with industry, they aim to double the amount of recycling and recovery of packaging waste to around 50% by 2001. They place obligations on producers of packaging to ensure the recovery and recycling of a quantity of packaging waste in proportion to the amount they place on the market. Packaging is the largest recyclable element in the household waste stream, and this initiative will bring convenient recycling facilities to 8 out of 10 households by the year 2000. The Government has supported the case for periodic review of the Regulations . A Producer Responsibility Operators' Forum is being set up to provide an opportunity for those involved in the implementation of the Regulations to develop partnerships and discuss various issues. An announcement is expected shortly on the handling of the fundamental Review in 1998.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The waste strategy for England and Wales, as published by the previous Government in the White Paper Making Waste Work, provided a policy framework for sustainable waste management by encouraging waste minimisation and recovery. The waste strategy was directed at a wide audience, including industry and the public sector, as well as individual householders and consumers. The strategy set a range of primary and secondary targets and included a commitment by the Government to setting further targets as more and better information became available. The Government produced a summary version of the strategy and leaflets targeted for industry and households in order to disseminate information about waste to producers, as well as galvanise widespread action for waste minimization activities. The new Government has undertaken to review this strategy at some point in the future.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

The Government is committed to reducing the proportion of controlled waste going to landfill from 70% to 60% by 2005, and recover value from 40% of municipal waste by 2005.

Some 1.1 million tonnes (dry weight basis) of sewage sludge is produced annually in the UK as a by-product of sewage treatment processes. This will to rise to 1.5 million tonnes by 2005 as treatment standards are raised, in particular for coastal discharges. Currently 50% is used as fertiliser on agricultural land, 30% is dumped at sea, 10% incinerated and 10% landfilled. Disposal to sea will cease by the end of 1998 and it is expected that the proportions recycled on agricultural land and incinerated will increase to 66% and 28% respectively. In the Government's view the recovery of value from sewage sludge, in the form of fertiliser and organic matter, through controlled application on land is the best practicable option for most sludge.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing  

The Landfill Tax was introduced on 1 October 1996 and it applies to waste which is disposed of in licensed landfills. The tax seeks, as far as practicable, to ensure that the price of landfill fully reflects the impact which it has upon the environment. It provides an incentive to reduce the waste sent to landfill sites and to increase the proportion of waste which is managed at higher levels of the waste hierarchy. The cost of the tax has been offset by a 0,2% reduction in the main rate of employer national insurance contributions since April 1997. There are two rates of tax; a standard rate of 7 per tonne and a lower rate of 2 per tonne. Customs and Excise are currently reviewing the level and operation of the tax with the assistance of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and other Government Departments. The results of the review are expected early in 1998.

As part of the landfill tax provisions, landfill operators who make payments to approved environmental bodies for spending on approved environmental objects will be able to claim a credit from the tax of 90% of the payments made, up to a maximum of 20% of their annual landfill tax liability. This is estimated to be worth up to 84m annually, although the scheme is voluntary and the level of funds which are made available to these bodies will depend on the take-up by landfill operators.

The aim of this initiative is to promote sustainable waste management practices for the future and remedy the consequences of unsustainable practices in the past. Environmental bodies will be non-profit distributing bodies and not controlled by landfill operators or local authorities. Environmental bodies will be able to engage in activities related to a list of approved objects set out in the Landfill Tax Regulations. Environmental bodies have no direct relationship with Customs and Excise. They are registered and supervised by ENTRUST, a regulatory body approved by Customs and Excise. This scheme is being reviewed in the main review of the landfill tax.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 30 May 1998.

 

Hazardous Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Transfrontier shipments of waste are controlled in line with the Government's commitments as a Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. The Government has respected the 1994 decision and from May 1994, exports of hazardous waste from the United Kingdom to non-OECD countries have been banned, other than in exceptional circumstances.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The UK's obligations under the Basel Convention are implemented by Council Regulation (EC) 259/93, subsidiary UK regulations (SI 1137/1994) and the UK Management Plan for Exports and Imports of Waste, published in 1996. This framework precludes measures to prevent and punish illegal international traffic in hazardous wastes. The Plan bans all exports from the UK of waste destined for disposal operations, and most imports for disposal are also banned, except where wider environmental considerations apply. Exports for recovery generally banned other than in exceptional circumstances, in line with the ban agreed by Parties to the Basel Convention in September 1995. Imports for genuine recovery operations can continue. The plan implements the UK's policy of self-sufficiency in waste disposal, as well as the proximity principle.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing  

The UK strongly supports the objectives of the Basel Convention, and is an active contributor to the work of the Convention and its subsidiary working groups. The UK hosted and sponsored a meeting of the Convention's Technical Working Group in September 1996. Contributions to Basel Convention Main Trust Fund were: $189,400 (1995), $176,700 (1996), and $210,369 (1997); and to Technical Co-operation Trust Fund: $8,200; $225,750, and $73,000 in respective years.

Cooperation  

The United Kingdom ratified the Basel Convention on Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal on 7 February 1994, and ratified the amendment to the Convention, banning exports of waste characterised as hazardous from Annex VII parties to non-Annex VII countries on 13 October 1997.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 30 May 1998.

Click here for information on Special Wastes, including Hazardous Wastes.

Click here to access Register of Carriers of Controlled Waste

Click here to access Register of Waste Management Licences

Click here to access Register of Exempt Activities

Click here to access Register of Professional Collectors And Transporters of Waste, and Dealers and Brokers

Click here to access Register of Brokers of Controlled Waste

 

Radioactive Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The last statement of Government policy on radioactive waste management was the previous Government's White Paper, "Review of Radioactive Waste Management - Final Conclusions" (Cm 2919), published in July 1995. The White Paper followed a review which explored how to ensure that radioactive waste, whatever its origin, is properly managed so that people and the environment are not exposed to unacceptable risks. The White Paper set out the roles of the Government, regulators and operators in the sustainable management of radioactive waste. Specific policies included a commitment to the disposal of intermediate level radioactive waste in a deep repository on land; developing a disposal strategy for high level radioactive waste; five yearly reviews of nuclear operators' decommissioning strategies; establishing a regime to deal with radioactively contaminated land; and the import and export of radioactive wastes.

The 1995 White Paper also reaffirmed that UK Nirex Ltd has the task of providing a deep underground repository for intermediate level waste. In 1989 it was announced that Nirex would conduct detailed geological studies in the vicinities of Dounreay and Sellafield, and in July 1991 Nirex chose to concentrate its investigations on Sellafield. Nirex chose to concentrate its work on a site at Longlands farm, near Sellafield, Cumbria. To test the geology and the hydrogeology of the site, Nirex proposed to construct an underground rock laboratory or a 'rock characterisation facility' (RCF). In July 1994, Nirex submitted a planning application to Cumbria County Council for the RCF. In December 1994, the County Council refused planning consent, Nirex appealed against the decision and a planning inquiry was held. The Inspector of the inquiry submitted his report to the Secretary of State for the Environment in late November 1996. In March 1997, the then Secretary of State for the Environment decided to dismiss Nirex's appeal. The Government is now considering the implications for radioactive waste management policy of the former Secretary of State's decision.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing  

No information is available.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom to the sixth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 30 May 1998.

For more information on radioactivity, click here.

To access Register of Radioactive Substances Information, click here.


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