Dorset’s natural and historic environment makes a huge contribution to health and personal wellbeing.

Dorset’s natural systems provide a wide range of essential goods (food, fuel, productive soil, clean air and water) and beneficial services (pollination, flood alleviation, climate regulation and tranquillity). These are taken for granted, but they need a combination of public, private and voluntary action to maintain them.

The contribution of our natural and historic environment to the economy is often overlooked.

The high quality natural environment that is so cherished by people living and working in Dorset means that we work hard to deliver mechanisms such as the Dorset Heathlands Planning Framework to ensure that development is led sustainably.

All data relates to statistics that pre-date Covid unless stated otherwise

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The Natural Environment

  • 90% of Dorset's (including Christchurch) residents surveyed said the environment was an important, very important or crucial factor in their decision to live in Dorset. In addition, businesses report a demonstrable positive impact from both the Jurassic Coast and the AONB1.
  • Dorset contains part of England’s only natural World Heritage Site and two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, covering 54% of the Dorset Council area2.
  • Dorset is home to 9,2183 Listed Buildings of which 246 are Grade I which are of exceptional interest and may be of significant national importance. 5% of all national protected monuments are in Dorset.
  • All of the Dorset coast (excluding the town seafronts) is recognised in national or international designations for its unique landscape, scenic quality, wildlife and geological formations2.
Species in Dorset infographic

Economy & Wellbeing

  • Dorset's (including Christchurch) environmental economy is worth between £0.9bn and £2.5bn  per annum, about 8-10% of Dorset’s overall economy. It also supports between 17,000 and 61,000 jobs in the economy1.
  • The low carbon economy has the potential to grow by 11% per year between 2015 and 2030 - four times faster than the rest of the economy4.
  • The physical and mental health benefits of access to nature are well documented, as are the negative impacts of environmental inequality. Improving access to green infrastructure therefore offers the potential to extend these benefits, particularly in areas where access is poor.
  • The landscape can reduce the need for expensive public health interventions. Local public health spending on the landscape can be 27 times more cost effective than clinical interventions.6 Greater wellbeing also contributes to higher productivity and economic gain.
% of waste going to landfill infographic
% Reduction in amount of waste going to landfill in Dorset

Energy

  • Climate change will continue and whilst CO2 emissions in Dorset are falling, in line with the government’s targets for 20207, further reductions are required to meet tougher emission targets for 20508. The Paris Agreement aims to limit warming to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.
  • Renewable energy production has increased in The Dorset LEP area from 0.95% of local energy consumption in February 2011 to 5.5% in March 2016. However, Dorset still lags behind Cornwall and Devon who continue to lead on renewable energy generation in the south west9.
Renewable energy production as % of all consumption infographic
Renewable energy production as % of consumption

What are we doing about it?

The council is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. As our buildings make up a significant proportion of this, renewable energy solutions have an important role to play in our overall strategy, alongside energy efficiency measures.

The Dorset Waste Partnership promotes recycling by running promotional campaigns and providing incentive schemes for composting bins and ‘real’ nappies.

The council’s Historic Environment Team gives advice to ensure that designated sites are protected and the impact of planning applications on important archaeology is avoided or reduced by appropriate mitigation. The council also employs Conservation Officers to ensure appropriate development in areas of historic interest.

We employ a team of Rangers who work to conserve Dorset’s natural environment and keep public rights of way open. There is also a Conservation apprentice scheme available.

The council’s Natural Environment Team manage the Dorset Biodiversity Protocol. This scheme ensures that protected species which may be affected by planning applications are protected from harm by avoiding impacts or agreeing specific mitigation or compensation.

Headline Figures

72%

Reduction in waste sent to landfill in Dorset in the last 10 years5

5%

Of all nationally protected ancient monuments are in Dorset

9,218

Listed buildings in Dorset

90%

Of Dorset residents said that the environment was an important factor in their decision to live in Dorset

6%

Of energy production from renewable sources

54%

Of County covered by Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation

Headline Figures

72%

Reduction in waste sent to landfill in Dorset in the last 10 years5

5%

Of all nationally protected ancient monuments are in Dorset

9,218

Listed buildings in Dorset

90%

Of Dorset residents said that the environment was an important factor in their decision to live in Dorset

6%

Of energy production from renewable sources

54%

Of County covered by Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation


Sources

  • 1 Dorset’s Environmental Economy’, Ash Futures for Dorset County Council, Dorset AONB, Jurassic Coast WHS, Dorset LNP, 2015
  • 2 Dorset Databook 2011, Dorset County Council (recalculated)
  • 3 The National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Historic England,[Searched 29/10/20]
  • 4 The Clean Growth Strategy, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 12/10/2017
  • 5 2010/11 campared to 2019/20, Dorset Council
  • 6 Public Health and Landscape, Creating healthy places, Landscape Institute, November 2013
  • 7 UK local authority and regional carbon dioxide emissions national statistics: 2005-2014, Department of Energy & Climate Change
  • 8 The Carbon Plan: Delivering our low carbon future, Department of Energy & Climate Change, 2011
  • 9 Renewable energy - A local progress report for England, Regen SW, 2016

24 Reports

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9 Related Datasets

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  • Indices of Deprivation 2019- National and Dorset Council Ranks

    Published: 03 January 2020

    The English Indices of Deprivation helps identify and prioritise areas to assist the government and other agencies both national and local in narrowing the gap between deprived neighbourhoods and the rest of the country.

    Downloads: 799

  • Indices of Deprivation 2019 - Dorset East Sub Unitary Geography (SUG) Maps

    Published: 11 December 2019

    This pdf illustrates national deprivation levels at a small geography across Dorset East SUG area for 2019. There are sixteen maps which look at a range of components of deprivation including health, income, employment, education and skills, living environment, crime and barriers to housing and services. There is also a multiple deprivation map that combines all these aspects of deprivation to give us an overall picture. The document also has a number of maps that look at specific aspects (sub domains) such as deprivation affecting children and outdoor living environment.

    Downloads: 809

  • Indices of Deprivation 2019 - Dorset West Sub Unitary Geography (SUG) Maps

    Published: 11 December 2019

    This pdf illustrates national deprivation levels at a small geography across Dorset West SUG area for 2019. There are sixteen maps which look at a range of components of deprivation including health, income, employment, education and skills, living environment, crime and barriers to housing and services. There is also a multiple deprivation map that combines all these aspects of deprivation to give us an overall picture. The document also has a number of maps that look at specific aspects (sub domains) such as deprivation affecting children and outdoor living environment.

    Downloads: 1195

  • Indices of Deprivation 2019 - Mid Dorset Sub Unitary Geography (SUG) Maps

    Published: 11 December 2019

    This pdf illustrates national deprivation levels at a small geography across Mid Dorset SUG area for 2019. There are sixteen maps which look at a range of components of deprivation including health, income, employment, education and skills, living environment, crime and barriers to housing and services. There is also a multiple deprivation map that combines all these aspects of deprivation to give us an overall picture. The document also has a number of maps that look at specific aspects (sub domains) such as deprivation affecting children and outdoor living environment.

    Downloads: 1033

  • Indices of Deprivation 2019 - South East Dorset Sub Unitary Geography (SUG) Maps

    Published: 11 December 2019

    This pdf illustrates national deprivation levels at a small geography across South East Dorset SUG area for 2019. There are sixteen maps which look at a range of components of deprivation including health, income, employment, education and skills, living environment, crime and barriers to housing and services. There is also a multiple deprivation map that combines all these aspects of deprivation to give us an overall picture. The document also has a number of maps that look at specific aspects (sub domains) such as deprivation affecting children and outdoor living environment.

    Downloads: 1091

  • Indices of Deprivation 2019 - Dorset North Sub Unitary Geography (SUG) Maps

    Published: 11 December 2019

    This pdf illustrates national deprivation levels at a small geography across Dorset North SUG area for 2019. There are sixteen maps which look at a range of components of deprivation including health, income, employment, education and skills, living environment, crime and barriers to housing and services. There is also a multiple deprivation map that combines all these aspects of deprivation to give us an overall picture. The document also has a number of maps that look at specific aspects (sub domains) such as deprivation affecting children and outdoor living environment.

    Downloads: 1029

  • Indices of Deprivation 2019 - Dorset South Sub Unitary Geography (SUG) Maps

    Published: 11 December 2019

    This pdf illustrates national deprivation levels at a small geography across Dorset South SUG area for 2019. There are sixteen maps which look at a range of components of deprivation including health, income, employment, education and skills, living environment, crime and barriers to housing and services. There is also a multiple deprivation map that combines all these aspects of deprivation to give us an overall picture. The document also has a number of maps that look at specific aspects (sub domains) such as deprivation affecting children and outdoor living environment.

    Downloads: 722

  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Areas of Coastal Designations

    Published: 01 January 2016

    This dataset gives you areas of different designated parts of the County.

    Downloads: 994

  • Length of coastline and coastal designation

    Published: 01 January 2016

    This dataset gives you the length of the different sections of coast.

    Downloads: 908

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