Ecosystems contribute billions of pounds each year to the UK economy, a landmark new study shows
The research forms the basis of an independent report, the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA), launched this week by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman.
The UK NEA uses a fresh approach to estimate the value of the natural world. It assesses the economic, health and social benefits we get from nature, rather than focusing on the market value of resources that can be used and sold, such as timber, crops and fisheries.
Its findings strengthen the arguments for protecting and enhancing the environment and will be used by the government to direct policy in future.
Key findings include:
- The benefits that inland wetlands bring to water quality are worth up to £1.5bn per year
- Pollinators are worth £430m per year to British agriculture
- The amenity benefits of living close to rivers, coasts and other wetlands is worth up to £1.3bn per year
The UK NEA is part of the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) initiative. It involved input from government, academic, NGO and private sector institutions, including the Landscape Institute.
“We are very pleased to have played a part in supporting the production of this key report,” said President Jo Watkins. “It provides an incredibly rich and detailed evidence base supporting the work we have done on the importance of green infrastructure and the importance of investing in our landscape.”
A copy of the report can be downloaded from National Ecosystem Assessment website.