The Environmental Research Funders‘ Forum has published a Strategic Analysis of UK Environmental Monitoring Activity. It found that the UK monitoring community is large and fragmented. Monitoring is undertaken for a variety of reasons with the most common being long-term research and informing policy development. About a third of the activities are meeting or contributing to statutory requirements. There appears to be a lack of baseline data and data on long-term trends in specific topic areas including climate change impacts. The cost of monitoring covered by the review has been very conservatively estimated at upwards of £88 million and could be up to £500m. The lack of secure funding was identified as the major risk to long-term datasets. Other risks include organisational and staffing changes and the reliance on the volunteer continuity who collect approximately one third of the terrestrial datasets. The principle recommendation of the review is that a clear vision, strategy and framework for long-term environmental monitoring are required.
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