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This report sets out the work done by the Natural Capital Committee in the UK since March 2016. It also makes a series of recommendations to government on developing the 25 year environment plan.
Using two parks in the UK, this report highlights the value of well maintained green spaces, not just for amenity and recreation, but the services delivered by soil, grass, flowers, trees and water to provide society and our economy with significant benefits.
The benefits derived from natural resources include food, recreation and clean air and water. The aim of valuing these resources is to quantify better the cost of their degradation. This POSTnote summarises how to value natural capital, discusses the advantages and challenges of approaches and describes some initiatives to secure natural capital for the future.
Natural assets provide a wide range of environmental services that make human life possible. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have been developing methods to value these services, aiming to highlight the relative importance of services provided by the UK’s natural assets.
Forest Enterprise England (FEE) has developed the first organisation-wide Natural Capital Account (NCA). The account covers an area of 254,000 ha, approximately 2% of land in England. The value of the services delivered by England’s woods and forests is estimated to be £11.9bn.
Flood defences and river catchment management will need to adapt and adjust to population and infrastructure changes – but so too will planning, and agricultural policy. This requires a radical rethink, treating rivers as core natural capital.
In this report, we argue that both natural capital and nature protection approaches have something to offer, but that neither is enough on its own.