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The natural environment underpins our wellbeing and economic prosperity, providing multiple benefits to society, yet is consistently undervalued in decision-making.


Natural capital is the stock of natural assets, including habitats, water and biodiversity that produces a wide range of benefits for people. These benefits are known as ecosystem services and include, for example, food, timber production, regulation of flooding and climate, pollination of crops, and cultural benefits such as aesthetic value and recreational opportunities.

The Nene catchment occupies most of Northamptonshire and Peterborough. It faces increasing pressures from human development as most of the catchment falls within an area highlighted for significant growth over the next few years. This will place considerable pressure on the catchment, but also presents an opportunity to achieve conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services at a landscape scale. The Nene Valley was designated as a Nature Improvement Area (NIA) in 2012, a flagship nature conservation initiative launched by the UK Government to promote landscape-scale conservation.

This report is a summary of a major project to identify, map and value natural capital and ecosystem services across the Nene Valley. The aims are to highlight the key benefits provided by the natural environment, to increase understanding of the interdependencies between the natural environment, people and the economy, and to help planners and decision makers protect, enhance and restore the natural environment for the benefit of both people and wildlife. A technical report accompanies this summary report, containing many more maps and further detail on the methods and results reported here (see back cover for link).

Download the summary here.