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There are no simple answers to the question: 'how healthy is Europe's environment?' The results of the assessment presented in the various parts of this report are necessarily detailed and specific. On several aspects, current knowledge of environmental processes and observations of facts lead with confidence to certain conclusions. On others, where data are insufficient or uncertainties are significant, best estimates can be derived on the basis of best available information. These need to be read in the context of current understanding, the sources of uncertainty, and the information and research needs for improving the assessment.

Highlights and responses

The main highlights and findings of the report are summarised below (Chapter 40). This also includes a summary of the most significant policy responses and/or options being taken or proposed. The 'findings' focus on the main facts and key trends which require attention, and the 'responses' are concerned either with management and policy actions or with monitoring and implementation. These results are presented according to the main themes of the assessment: by environmental media, pressures and the main human activities.

A full analysis of responses and the state of actions to protect the environment, their effectiveness and implementation was beyond the scope of the present exercise. This could be usefully pursued in parallel with future exercises reporting on the state of the environment.

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