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Budget cuts forces Defra to scale back statistics

Staff Writer |
Cuts at Defra have led the department to consider ‘rationalising’ some of the data it collects.

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Earlier this year, the department consulted on plans to reduce or stop publishing certain statistics on environment, food and farming, including air quality data and figures from some of its arms-length bodies like the Forestry Commission and Natural England.

tefra said it plans to reduce the scope or frequency of some surveys, and do away with others that are used less or that can be produced by different groups in the private or third sectors.

Defra said it has started to implement some of the changes already (the 2016 Campaign for the Farmed Environment survey will not now be undertaken), and added that the Brexit vote means more scrutiny of its statistical collections will be needed.

However, the department did recognise the need to pause its plans to cancel the Cereal Stocks Survey, due in February, and change the Farm Practices Survey from an annual exercise to a one conducted every 4th year.

Moves to stop publishing air quality statistics were also halted for the time being.

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