This move by Defra signals a sea change in the way Government data will be handled. By adopting a model that has been used by the US all sorts of additional value will be added to data that has been collected and paid for by the public purse. It will no doubt take some time to roll out but should inspire all sorts of applications.

Defra: ‘Defra’s data reserves will be released to create opportunities for people in the UK making their living from food, farming and the environment.   Vast data reserves from Defra are set to transform the world of food and farming in the single biggest government data giveaway the UK has ever seen, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss announced.  Outlining her vision for the future of British food, farming and the natural environment, the Environment Secretary said that over the next year, virtually all the data Defra holds—at least 8,000 sets—will be made freely available to the public, putting Britain at the forefront of the data revolution. Harnessing this open data will help food and farming achieve its full potential and enable the UK to become a one-nation economy, where the productivity of the countryside will be brought up to the level of our towns and cities.

Environment Agency – LIDAR data will be free for all our customers from September 2015!

Environment Agency  ‘For the past 17 years we have been capturing LIDAR (Light Detection & Ranging) data in England. LIDAR uses a laser to scan and map the landscape from a light aircraft and is widely considered the best method for collecting very dense and accurate elevation data. We now have an extensive archive of LIDAR data covering 72% of England and we use it flood models, to assess coastal change and land use analysis. LIDAR data is now being used by just about everybody who uses maps including local planners, archaeologists, farmers and ecologists. In June 2014 we committed to ensuring our information is available by publishing as much of it as possible as Open Data, free of charge and restrictions. Geomatics and DMMI worked together with users of our data and identified LIDAR as a priority dataset to release as Open Data. From Sept 2015 all our LIDAR data will become available ‘Open’ under the Open Government Licence, and you will be able to access these through Data share. By April 2018 our intention is to no longer charge for our data sets. As a public body, our data is an important asset; we already have over 100 datasets available; these can be found on By removing cost barriers to accessing out data we hope to create more opportunities for individuals , businesses and developers to use our data. There is significant potential to achieve our corporate and environmental outcomes through others as they use our data in ways that are not practical for us to do so or in ways that we have not thought of’.    Links include:

Contact Us: You can find out more about how to access LIDAR data at, , or by e-mailing Archived Data. Further information about our Open Data work is available through  or contact Open Data.


Open government licence

Data share

Geomatics group:



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