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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Feb 2021 right left

01

The Economics of Biodiversity: the Dasgupta Review

Tuesday 2nd February
Online
Free

Covid 19 – Learning from Belfast – Creating healthy places

Wednesday 3rd February
Online
Free

04
05
06
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08

Northern Ireland Food, Farm and Land Convention

Tuesday 9th February
Online

Building Soil Fertility on Farm

Wednesday 10th February
Online

Managing Plastic Waste Digital Conference

Thursday 11th February
Online
£200 – £260 + VAT

12
13
14

The Protocol and the Environment

Monday 15th February
Online
Free

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19
20
21
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23

FFCC’s Changing our land management

Wednesday 24th February
Online
Free

Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative Speaks: Targeting, Monitoring, and Conserving Soil Biodiversity: Soil biodiversity observation networks across the globe

Wednesday 24th February
Online
Free

Priorities for moving forward low carbon heat in the UK – strategy, policy, regulation, and supporting delivery

Thursday 25th February
Online
£190 plus VAT

Digital Fundraising (CFNI)

Thursday 25th February
Online
Free

Webinar: Integrated home renovation services in Europe

Friday 26th February
Online
Free

RSPB NI: Saving Species & Combatting Climate Change

Saturday 27th February
Online
Free

28
      

Natural Capital has gained a new status in UK environmental policy and is considered integral to the delivery of DEFRA’s 25 Year Environment Plan. Natural capital assessments have been championed as an efficient, practical and readily understandable approach to supporting more effective policy and investment decisions…

ecosystemservices

 

Natural capital is defined as “...elements of nature that directly or indirectly produce value or benefits to people, including ecosystems, species, freshwater, land, minerals, the air and oceans, as well as natural processes and functions” (UK Natural Capital Committee, 2014). These benefits (often referred to as ecosystem services) include food production, regulation of flooding and climate, pollination of crops, and cultural benefits such as aesthetic value and recreational opportunities. Using a natural capital assessment (figure 1), it is possible to understand the extent and condition of those assets, so the flow of ecosystem service benefits from those assets can be established and valued.

 

NC-Graphic

Fig 1: The Natural Capital Assessment Approach

The natural capital approach demonstrates the value of the natural environment to society and the importance of investing in and protecting our finite stock of natural assets. Yet not all the values associated with nature can be monetised, which presents an ongoing challenge for the way in which natural capital tools and methodologies are developed. However, the approach has great potential to advance the way in which the value of nature and our long–term prosperity is reflected in decision–making. 

Natural Capital Pilots

With natural capital commitments featured in the Draft NI Programme for Government, the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has supported NIEL to commission pilot natural capital assessments and assess how the natural capital approach can move from policy into practice. This policy agenda specifically responds to the guidance offered by the UK Natural Capital Committee (2017) which recognises the need for ‘pioneer projects to test different initiatives’ which can help move the natural capital agenda ‘from aspiration to practical delivery’.

The first pilot project successfully applied the natural capital approach to two urban sites in Northern Ireland, namely Bog Meadows and Minnowburn. As well as advancing the understanding of the importance and practicalities of undertaking Natural Capital assessments, the pilots reveal the range and scale of benefits that these areas, and those who manage them, provide to the public. The second pilot project applied a natural capital approach to CAFRE owned and managed farms.

The reports from both pilots can be viewed here:

Interserve Consulting – Natural Capital Assessment in Northern Ireland: Rural Study – Report

Dr Jim Rouquette et al – Natural Capital Assessment in Northern Ireland: Urban Study – Presentation

Dr Jim Rouquette et al – Natural Capital Assessment in Northern Ireland: Urban Study – Report

Prof Paul Leinster – Accounting for the environment in Northern Ireland – Presentation

The Way Forward

The natural capital approach is straightforward and transparent and can have a powerful and positive influence on decision–making. First, natural capital assessments can inform the development of investment plans for strategic locations. Second, they can inform development and land use–planning decisions through their integration into Local Development Plans and policies, helping to determine the most appropriate locations for development. Third, they can form part of a natural capital and biodiversity net gain policy to ensure all new developments achieve net benefits for people and the environment. Finally, assessments could inform the calculation of agricultural support payments, which is timely in the context of Brexit.

A new tool to protect and make better use of natural capital

Natural Capital Investment Plan for Surrey

DEFRA – Urban Pioneer

Links

Blog: Embedding a Natural Capital Approach; from Policy to Practice

Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces – Measuring their economic and wellbeing value to individuals

Manchester’s urban natural capital pioneer project

www.gov.uk/government/groups/natural-capital-committee

www.naturalcapitalireland.com

naturalcapitalscotland.com

ecosystemsknowledge.net

Other Reports

Accounting for Nature: A Natural Capital Account of the RSPB’s estate…

Natural Capital Committee – How to do it: a natural capital workbook

Natural Capital Committee – Advice on the 25 year environment plan