This study for the Environment Agency trials ways to enhance services provided by natural capital assets and to optimise the catchment planning process through the use of economic tools. This will then support Defra’s 25 year plan for the environment. This study is based on identification of the benefits that would flow from actions taken to improve natural capital within a river catchment in order to secure ecosystem services over the appraisal period. It does this by looking at actions that could restore, improve or maintain natural capital across the catchment as a whole, to address existing water quality, quantity and flood risk issues, while also taking account of the wider benefits that could be delivered by considering actions at the catchment scale.
The study looks to build on existing appraisal processes, such as those used in developing River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) and Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs). The aim has been to use the strengths of the existing integrated planning processes to develop a repeatable methodology that enables an integrated appraisal of a different mix of measures and interventions and to capture the wider impacts and benefits. The study was undertaken over a time period of around eight weeks, from the start-up meeting held on 3 February 2017 to the delivery of the final outputs on 31 March 2017.