The UK-EOF was launched in 2008 in response to the long term issues that surround environmental monitoring, observations and surveillance outlined in the Strategic analysis of UK environmental monitoring activity report. The 2006 study found that:
- The UK monitoring community is large and fragmented.
- The reasons for undertaking monitoring vary (including long-term research and informing policy development).
- There was no reliable estimate for the total cost of monitoring in the UK.
- Unsecured funding is a major risk to long-term datasets.
- Major gaps in UK environmental monitoring arise due to a lack of baseline data and data on long-term trends in specific topic areas.
- There is insufficient capacity to perform integrated monitoring and assessments.
The UK-EOF will be a self contained 5 year programme of Living With Environmental Change (LWEC), funded by the major sponsors of environmental observations in the UK and delivered via a series of workstreams. Full details of the initiative can be found in the UK Environmental Observational Framework and the Delivery Plan.
To date, exceptional progress was reported and the future challenges discussed, at the ERFF Main Board in November 2009. This is documented along with their recommendations in the Progress and Challenges report.
The UK-EOF will now focus on providing strategic and operational leadership to support the dynamic work of its funders and stakeholders. Although some technological development of the tools will continue, the UK-EOF will increase direct engagement with the funders to facilitate uptake of the tools, add value and provide a neutral space in which organisations can discuss increasing efficiencies and collaborative working practices.
It will enable funders and users to:
- see the entire observation/monitoring portfolio,
- understand the motivations of its various components, and will
- improve data accessibility and quality.
- Join up and collaborate at all levels from decision making to delivery of observation programs
The scope covers all environmental observation/monitoring activities done for or by the UK. The scope was widened in 2011 to include environmental socio economic observations.