John Barker [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This article was originally published on Environment Journal.


“Phil Jones, member of ADEPT’s Flood and Water Management Group, discusses how local authorities can bring a natural capital approach into their work to prepare for the 25 Year Environment Plan.

The ADEPT group’s primary area of interest is flood risk and water management, including coastal erosion. We work to give support, advice on policy development and promote best practice, working closely with Defra and the Environment Agency on areas including natural flood management and sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). The natural capital perspective is due to become an increasingly important consideration throughout our work.

Natural capital, as a concept, encompasses all our natural resources including air, soil, living things, and the ecosystems on which we depend. It has become predominant in the UK government’s agenda for the environment, beginning with the 2011 Environment White Paper. Following that, the Natural Capital Committee was set up in 2012 as an independent body to advise government and has been influential in developing the strategy that underpins the 25 Year Environment Plan.

As an approach, natural capital views natural resources in terms of assets and the benefits derived from them. Understanding how our natural assets function is core to the approach, which demands regular monitoring and evaluation to assess changes in ecosystems, providing critical evidence to support sustainability and enabling better management, protection and enhancement of the environment.

This approach is embedded in the 25 Year Environment Plan strategy and the key indicators against which actions are measured. The Plan introduces the creation of fourteen Local Natural Capital Plans based on the different regional Defra areas, with delivery working groups to include core stakeholders such as local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Local Nature Partnerships and the Defra family. These groups will be responsible for setting priorities at a regional level…”

Read on at: Environment Journal.