The previous system of 68 indicators has been simplified by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and reduced to 12 headline measures that are supported by 25 supplementary indicators.

The twelve headline measures include greenhouse gas emissions, natural resource use, wildlife and biodiversity, and water availability.

A spokesperson for Defra told edie that the government wanted to make the new set of Sustainable Development Indicators (SDI) clearer, simpler and more open to the public and businesses.

“Transparency will allow people to monitor performance and let people and businesses see the UK’s progression. It’s providing the public with the ability to hold the government to account if we are not going in the right direction”.

“We are also launching a consultation on the new set of SDI’s so that we can ensure that we are measuring our progress in the right way and people agree with the chosen indicators,” the spokesperson added.

Updates will be published annually with a scorecard showing whether progress is moving in the right direction.

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said: “We want to help our economy, our communities and the environment to grow and flourish in a sustainable way for the benefit of future generations.

“We have put sustainability at the heart of everything that the government does, and these new indicators will help us take stock of our progress and give the public the means to chart our success.

“At Rio+20 we successfully argued for the need for countries to look beyond their economic performance as a measure of progress.

“These indicators along with the measures of wellbeing underline our own commitment to going beyond GDP to measure the health and wealth of the UK.”

Leigh Stringer

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