The principal aim of the OECD Environmental Performance Review programme is to help member and selected partner countries improve their individual and collective performance in environmental management by:

  • helping countries assess progress in achieving their environmental goals

  • promoting continuous policy dialogue and peer learning

  • stimulating greater accountability from governments towards each other and public opinion.

This report reviews the environmental performance of the United Kingdom since the previous review in 2002. Progress in achieving domestic objectives and international commitments provides the basis for assessing the country’s environmental performance. Such objectives and commitments may be broad aims, qualitative goals or quantitative targets. A distinction is made between intentions, actions and results. Assessment of environmental performance is also placed within the context of United Kingdom’s historical environmental record, present state of the environment, physical endowment in natural resources, economic conditions and demographic trends.

The OECD is indebted to the UK and devolved governments for their co-operation in providing information, for the organisation of the virtual review mission (14-17 September 2021) and policy mission (29 November 2021), as well as for facilitating contacts inside and outside government institutions.

Thanks are also due to the representatives of the two examining countries, Helge Wendenburg (Germany), and Yasuhiko Hotta (Japan), for participating in the review.

The authors of this report are Gérard Bonnis, Eugene Mazur, Sarah Miet, Frédérique Zegel (OECD Environment Directorate) and Tony Zamparutti (consultant), under the co-ordination of Frédérique Zegel. Nathalie Girouard and Frédérique Zegel provided oversight and guidance. Sarah Miet provided statistical support, Shellie Phillips and Annette Hardcastle provided administrative support and Mark Foss copy-edited the report. Natasha Cline-Thomas provided communications support. Preparation of this report also benefited from inputs and comments from Peter Borkey, Andrew Brown, Ivana Capozza, Katia Karousakis, Jon Pareliussen and Jonas Teusch of the OECD Secretariat.

The OECD Working Party on Environmental Performance discussed the Environmental Performance Review of the United Kingdom at its meeting on 15 February 2022 and approved the Assessment and Recommendations.

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