Dataset comments

Latest comments on all datasets published by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Dataset: Local Authority Collected Waste Management Statistics

Open data?

There is some ambiguity around the re-use status of this data, as the spreadsheets include the following copyright notice:

"Copyright of data and/or information presented or attached in this document may not reside solely with this Department. Please contact us or see guidance on Copyright at:"

-- Owen Boswarva, 11/04/2017

Open data ?

We agree,  that the term is ambiguous and appears in numerous datasets as its derived from an older template.  We are working on making the most recent release more accessible and this ambiguity has been removed from the recent update (which we will upload shortly) and replaced with the OG licence.

Municiple waste arising data

I need data on municiple waste arising for the year 2013/2014 at local authority level. Thank you

Municipal waste araising 2013/2014

Apologies for the oversight.  I have included the data in as an xls file hope that is ok.  Going forward we will be publishing in accessible csv.  Any comments on what is good, not so good and suggestions can be sent to the mailbox.  We are interested to learn what the data is being used for of DGUK. -  cheers 

Dataset release

Is this dataset being updated?

Dataset release

Apologies,  but I have updated this dataset with the most recent release.  I will have to add in the notable authorities for 2016.  Otherwise, the rest of the 2017 information contains the figures for 2016.  Please get back to me if there are any issues.

Dataset: Family food open data

Is this correctly labled

The download "18/2/2016 NFSopen all data" is shown as a PDF. It's a zip file containing text files. 

file format issues

Thank you for your comment.  The file format labels have been updated to reflect content more accurately.


John Joseph

Older National Food Survey data

Where can I obtain NFS data from 1946? Thanks,

Older National Food Survey data

Hi there,

You can obtain the older reports from here:   and there is also a summary dataset available via the National Archive:


Dataset: Single-use plastic carrier bags charge data for England

Mis-information regarding reduction of plastic bags being us

Several fundemental points are being lost when claims of a massive 80% reduction in plastic bag numbers is heralded namely  

When the weight of a plastic bag for life is taken into account , the actual volume/weight reduction of plastic in our society is only 10-15%

Virtually all plastic bag for life are imported solving other countries plastic waste issue and worsening ours

The vast majority of these bags re only used 2-5 times

Virtually all paper bags are manufacturered in the UK

Approximately only 26% of plastic is recycled

Approximately 72% of all paper is recycled

Paper comes from trees and trees using photosynthesis ctively takes co2 from the atmosphere and replaces it with clean free oxygen 

The land under forrestation has grown since 2005 to 2015 by approximately the size of Switzerland 

A plastic bag is the by product of the single most polluting item the world has ever known - petrochemicals

While paper is very much a part of the new Circular Economy 

Dataset: Spend over £25,000 in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Ultra frugal Defra spending?

Can it really be true that Defra made just 5 spend transactions in Mar 2011 and, even more incredibly, only 1 in Dec 2011?

Files for May and June 2012 look identical

The file for May 2012 seems to be a copy of the June 2012 file.

Environment Agency spend data

Environment Agency's spend data is missing after September 2015.

-- Owen Boswarva, 29/04/2017

Environment Agency spend data - update

Update from EA in a Freedom of Information response dated 13/06/2017:

"We have not been able to publish our recent reports because our outsourced transaction services provider has not been able to provide a working report for us to use since implementation of a new cross government system. We are currently testing a report. As soon as we are satisfied it is complete and accurate we will commence publishing the information.

"We are working through a backlog in purchasing card data for publishing which arose from the implementation of the new system. We are required under data protection legislation to ensure we remove personal information from published data. In addition we need to expand on descriptions where they are of technical items that would be difficult for a reader to understand. This takes time and we have constrained resources with budget reductions which mean that it is taking longer to publish our information than in previous years. We expect to soon be publishing a data in the upcoming months."

-- Owen Boswarva, 14/06/2017

Envrionment Agency spend data

Hi Owen,
The key reason for the delay is that since the EA implemented a new financial system in October 2015, they have not been happy with the output of the report they run to provide the £25k data. They submitted a change request, asking our shared services provider - which created and owns the report - to make suitable amendments to the report's structure, but this has taken a long time to work through the shared service provider's approval process. Once full approval is given, the revised report will be made available and the EA will be able to produce the data for the missing months. Unfortunately, we don't currently have a timescale for this.


John Joseph

Dataset: Natural England INSPIRE WMS Service

the link appears to be broken

the link appears to be broken

The links still aren't

The links still aren't working in the browser. It'd be good to have this fixed!

GetFeatureInfo requests not fully working

In some GIS systems e.g. QGIS and MapServer, the GetFeatureInfo requests do not work for these layers as the format Text/HTML is not one of the formats offered. Using GetCapabilities, this shows that the formats offered are only Text/Plain, Text/xml and application/vnd.ogc.gml. If Text/HTML was offered, then users of this service could find out the name of the SSSI etc in most GIS systems. Would this be possible to add to the service?

GetFeatureInfo requests not fully working (2)

The Info does not work in MapInfo either. The only GIS platform I can get it working is ArcGIS

Link Not working

The Link to the data in the download is not working.  Please could you rectify.

Dataset: Sensitive areas currently identified in the UK under the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive since 1994

River Yealm Shellfishery

I am an oyster farmer working above waters currently cat B oysters cat C mussels.

The village of Brixton has consented around 100 new houses in the last 3 years, another 90 plus are currently being applied for through planing applications.This is in addition to 5500 new homes planning approved over next 20 years also in our parish ( Sherford new town not discharging to Yealm but pumping stations may have emergency overflows into Yealm).

The EA provided me with spill data for Brixton Sewage treatment works period 15/16, this shows works spilling for over 48 hours every month (620 hours for the year), and total spills of 58 just from the one works.

Planners at South Hams District Council state that EA discussions should take place to discuss how impacts can be overcome, yet at the same time planning officers report on outlined evelopment for  29 houses reccomends approval with no conditions in respect of sewage loadings.I have made representations on this application asking for shellfishery protection to be taken into account.

How can my business gain some influence on the additional loadings being put on our shellfish water?

The planners are not taking proper account of the protection which our shellfishery is entitled to under WFD.

Martyn Oates

0797265111201752 880944/880937.

Dataset: Sheep and Goats annual inventory

sheep annual inventory form

i need a copy of my december 20015 annual inventory form are you able to send me a copy by e mail.My holding no is 31/273/0001 J Craigs ltd Tritlington Hall morpeth ne613ed many thanks

Dataset: Strategic Animal Health Policy Programme Stakeholders lists

decision makers

need list of decision makers on animal health

Decision makers

The Animal Health and Welfare Board of England members list is available from:  The Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE) is the principal source of departmental advice to Defra ministers on all strategic health and welfare matters relating to all kept animals in England. If this is not what you are looking for please contact the following with further information about your requirements:  

Dataset: Requests for Defra publications

Bad link

The resource link above doesn't currently work because the file name should contain underscores not hyphens. The following works:

-- Owen Boswarva, 14/05/2016

Dataset: June Survey of Agriculture and Horticulture, UK

Land use data

Is land use data for the past 15 years available broken down by region or unitary country?

Dataset: WasteDataFlow - Local Authority waste management

This is NOT the entire raw dataset - WasteDataFlow

Many thanks for supplying this data in bulk, easy to download files. Compared to getting the data from WasteDataFlow, this is much easier to access. However, I have a contention with your statement that is is the 'entire raw dataset'. With respect to question number 19, i.e. 'Recycling Destination', the data from WasteDataFlow includes the company name and post code of where the waste was destined. In your compiled data set, this crucial information is missing. Hence, this is not the entire raw dataset. Important information is missing and I would like to request that you update your compiled data to include the missing 'destinations' please. I request this purely from a research point of view. Many thanks for your help.


F Ongondo

Year of dataset

Why is data so late. The most recent I can see is 2011 alt least two years out of date


Ron D

These Datasets

I am using Waste Data Flow to get information on a regular basis, when I saw the datasets above I was glad, its about time, even though it's a year to two out of step with WDF. But the data is not the same as if you were to conduct a RAW Download yourself from WDF, which is what I would expect RAW DATA to be.

If you do a dump to a zip on WDF you get a lot of information per question, not all of which of course is relevant, but most is. So when you say "This is the entire raw dataset." what you are actually meaning, is this is the processed dataset that we want to put out there and pretend that it's the RAW Data?

If you could actually put up the raw data as you would download it, it would be of more use to the world, than your estimation of raw data, and it wouldn't be trying to sell itself as something it isn't.

Dataset: The UK Renewable Energy Planning Database

Feedback on the value of this dataset

Other Benefits
Trying to access the WMS link for the information. The link provided is not working and needs to be updated.

This comment was generated from feedback about the potential value of this dataset

Dataset: Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) in the UK

Please clarify the licence for this dataset.

Please clarify the licence for this dataset.

The Defra website currently says the dataset is re-usable under the Open Government Licence: If the dataset is open but contains Ordnance Survey derived data then presumably the OS OpenData Licence could apply instead.

However just saying "Ordnance Survey licence constraints apply" does not provide re-users with sufficient information.

-- Owen Boswarva, 19/11/2014

Dataset: Noise exposure data - England

More information

For additional background on this data see this Defra policy paper:

Noise action plans: large urban areas, roads and railways

and this Defra site:

Noise Mapping England

-- Owen Boswarva, 01/07/2014

Dataset: Organic Statistics Database

Currently registered organic farms and farm shops in the UK

Although it's not open data, Defra has recently released the following dataset in response to a FOI request:

Currently registered organic farms and farm shops in the United Kingdom

-- Owen Boswarva, 13/03/2013

Dataset: Defra Transparency Panel

Not a dataset

These are meeting minutes, not a dataset. The documents should be posted in the Library section of and/or in Defra's area on GOV.UK.

-- Owen Boswarva, 29/12/2013

Dataset: Defra Business Plan Quarterly Data Summary

Feedback on the value of this dataset

Effective Public Services
I have just joined Defra. Is this where I should go to find out how we are doing against our key performance indicators? If so, I can only find some financial information (no safety, other key deliverables). Perhaps you could point me tot he right place?

This comment was generated from feedback about the potential value of this dataset

Dataset: Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) sequel database system

Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) datasets

Presumably "sequel" in the title should be "SQL".

There is more information about the private water supplies dataset on the DWI website.

-- Owen Boswarva, 30/09/2013

Technical reasons for not making data available?

Been told by the DWI that their "data is made available internally via a bespoke application which cannot be made available to the public for technical reasons".  However, I'm hopeful that this application provides some means by which comprehensive, anonymised customer contact and regulatory sampling datasets can be made available on under the Open Government Partnership.

Feedback on the value of this dataset

Effective Public Services
Releasing this data set (and similar data sets) allows transparency and better understanding of the performance of the water industry, and allows research groups to prioritise and target water industry related research, and to promote innovation in the industry which ultimately leads to higher quality customer service.It goes without saying that customer-identifying information needs to be filtered from the dataset before it is made public.

Potential links to other datasets
To learn more about the causes of water quality issues in water distribution networks the dataset could be explored in conjunction with the OFWAT service failure dataset, which catalogues events such as inadequate pressures at customer supply points and service interruptions. See for more information on OFWAT Levels of Service.

Other Benefits
Saves the time and expense associated with numerous different people / groups contacting the same organisations for the same data and saves the organisations the overheads of dealing with multiple requests. Also, at present the way in which data is aggregated in high-level DWI reports varies from year to year; through having access to these reports as well as ‘raw’ regulatory sampling data and anonymised customer contact data the public and academia are able to aggregate data in the way that is most appropriate given the nature of their research.

This comment was generated from feedback about the potential value of this dataset

Dataset: The United Kingdom fishing Vessel List

New link

The download link given above is defunct. Vessels lists are now available on the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) website: UK vessel lists.

-- Owen Boswarva, 01/12/2013

Dataset: Cereal Stocks, England and Wales

Resource link

Defra statistics on cereal stocks:

-- Owen Boswarva, 31/10/2013

Dataset: Air Quality Management Areas

AQMA Boundaries Dataset

This is an important and useful dataset that in my opinion Defra should prioritise for open data release.

There is more information about the dataset here: AQMA maps

Unfortunately, based on this recent public consultation, Defra is proposing that councils in England should no longer be required to collect the air quality data used to produce this dataset. However we have not yet had the outcome of the consultation.

-- Owen Boswarva, 11/10/2013

Edit: link to information about AQMA maps updated 20/02/2014 and again 14/11/2014.

Update: My post above is out of date as Defra has now released the AQMA boundary dataset as open data for re-use under the Open Government Licence. The dataset may be downloaded in shapefile format from the Defra website:

-- Owen Boswarva, 14/11/2014

Dataset: Wild Bird Populations in England

Invalid URL

The URL's mentioned in the Metadat are invalid.

Dataset: Environmental Liability Incidents Recorded by UK Regulators

Previous incident returns

Archive of returns for earlier years:

     Environmental liability (Defra via The National Archives)

-- Owen Boswarva, 11/06/2013

Dataset: Bathing water surveys, mandatory standards 1988-2011

detailed bathing water data

a richer dataset is available at:  this provides information on individual bathing waters / beaches in season and the full history broken down by determinand. it also includes information in general about hte beach (the profile of)

Dataset: Bathing water surveys, Guideline Standards 1994 to 2011

Would be more useful if ..

the data was available for individual beaches

Individual beach (bathing water data)

a richer dataset is available at:  this provides information on individual beaches in season and the full history broken down by determinand. it also includes information in general about hte beach (the profile of)

Dataset: Carbon emissions

Incorrect Link

The download link on this page does not contain any data on carbon emmissions.

Instead it takes you to page of downloads for 2010 Health Profiles

Dataset: EU Waste Statistics Regulation (EC 2150/2002)

Dead link

The above link to this download is dead. (The current Government archived a lot of material on the Defra website without using URL forwarding.)

The Excel spreadsheet is currently available at the following link:

-- Owen Boswarva, 23/09/2012

Dataset: Fish stocks around the UK fished within safe biological limits

Broken Link

Link will not download.

Dataset: UK's Carbon Footprint 1990 to 2009

Renamed UK's Carbon Footprint

Further updates for this dataset is now available through under 'UK's Carbon footprint - carbon dioxide emissions relating to UK consumption'

Dataset: Organogram and staff pay data for Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency

Contractor Pay?

These data sets don't show the pay for all the Contractor's that AHVLA are employing


Obviously you cant read, they only give info on what the company is willing to show.

Dataset: Marine Conservation Zones


Looks more like an NE dataset?

Dataset: Defra live data page for energy consumption

Error in the data?

I think there is a datapoint in this dataset that is wrong as it is much, much higher than any other of the readings

According to the spreadsheet, on the 05/08/10, an incredible 2,245,413.28 kWh was used between 23.30 and 00.00 (column E)

This can't be right. To give some perspective, this is equivalent to the peak use of half a million households in the UK!

Please can you look into this asap as this will heavily affect any analysis conducted on this data.


Response to 'Error in the data?'

This arose because part of the Data Acquisition commissioning process (as a result of the interface between two pieces of metering equipment) produced the illusion of massive consumption for a very short time. This was never based on any real spike in energy use; it was an anomaly which occurred during the set up of the system. We have now built tools to spot occasions when it may happen again.

Many thanks for raising this query.

Defra Built Environment Sustainable Development Team

Night time use

There appears to be some very high night time use in this dataset. Seems like the building management system needs to be adjusted.

CSV format

Thank you for providing all these data. I wonder why you decided to put comments in the first lines of each data set. They are always the same and pose work on people automatically retrieving the data. If this is supposed to be a CSV format I would recommend to remove all the comments, or at least use comment characters to mark them. Otherwise, these files will confuse many software packages. Just an idea.

Dataset: Trends in populations of selected species (wild birds)

Broken links / login required

Several of the links to datasets are broken, or take you to an error page saying that a login is required. I'm searching various environmental datasets so it may just be due to the Defra website reshuffle. Are there any plans to update the links anytime soon?

Broken links / login required


I have just checked this and the dataset seems to be working fine.

Kind regards

Chetan Team

Dataset: Water leakage: 1992/3 to 2009/10

could we have more detail?

This is interesting (given that the distribution figures don't seem to be improving at all). Could we have a breakdown by responsible organisation, which would be more useful? And preferably by region as well.

Dataset: Meetings with external organisations by ministers in Defra

Defra meetings

These links don't work!

Links not working


Thanks for flagging this up - we will pass it on to the publishing department and ask them to provide updated links.

Many thanks,


Links not working

Hi Phil

These links still don't seem to work. Please prod Defra!

Links not working


I will follow up with our colleagues at defra to see if someone can update the links.

In the mean time you might find the following useful

Kind regards


Dataset: Hospitality received by ministers in Defra


As with the other areas of the Defra pages, none of the links work.

Dataset: CAP Scheme Payments including the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) made to UK beneficiaries 2009

Removal of CAP payments data

European Courts of Justice have made a ruling that invalidates parts of the EU legislation that requires Member States to publish the data of beneficiaries of CAP funds. As such this information has been taken down from Defra’s website.

More information is available at

Dataset: NI 194 Air quality - % reduction in NOx and primary PM10 emissions through local authorities estate and operations

download doesn't seem to

download doesn't seem to work.

Dataset: Reported numbers of Abandoned vehicles

How to see this data,

not really user friendly!? go to another website select options? I just wanted to see the data?

Dataset: Local Authority recycling rates

Data Quality

Interesting concept - if only the links to data were correct.

Dataset: Management of municipal waste

wrong url

This url above appears to be incorrect..
I think the correct url may be