Defra has published a scoping study to develop Natural Capital Accounts for urban areas throughout the UK. An interdisciplinary team led by Eftec and CEH carried out the work.
Based upon published Defra-ONS Natural Capital accounting principles, the report draws on a wide range of scientific, economic and spatial evidence. It defines an accounting boundary around urban areas, scopes and measures relevant ecosystem services, and identifies condition indicators that are relevant to the various services. This starts to fill an important, policy relevant void in the set of UK Natural Capital Accounts being developed by Defra and ONS.
This scoping study shows the importance of services provided by the UK’s urban natural capital assets, including air quality regulation, physical health benefits, noise attenuation, local and global climate regulation and food provisioning.
A method is set out for each service enabling ongoing production of accounting estimates. 100-year asset values are also calculated. Data gaps and methodological challenges are identified. The findings and methods from this study will be combined with separate work streams within the ONS-Defra work programme (on house price analysis and recreational services) to produce an initial urban account planned for early next year.
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