ENCA:Enabling a Natural Capital Approach

ENCA is the broad title to a substantial amount of material published today by Defra (Department for Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs).  Spread across a number of web pages the new material includes:

  • Guidance
  • Assessment templates
  • A services databook – around 200 sources of valuation evidence for: ecosystem services like food production, flood regulation and recreation; environmental impacts like air pollution and noise.
  • An assets databook – over 100 UK data sources, tools and studies for the eight natural capital categories: urban; enclosed farmland; mountain, moor and heathland; freshwaters; woodland; coastal margins; marine; semi-natural grassland
  • Featured appraisal and assessment tools
  • Case studies aplenty

In Defra’s words, these are ‘data, guidance and tools to help you understand natural capital and know how to take it into account’.  The material is aimed not only at government economists and public sector organisations, but also the private practitioner who is interested in natural capital evidence, tools and resources used in government.  This means anybody with a serious interest in rural land management and valuation.

By issuing this guidance Defra hopes to encourage adoption of a natural capital approach.  In particular the aim is to build know-how and capacity among users, to reduce research costs.  Defra’s intention is that the resources should be updated from time to time.

Several tools are featured including:

  • Defra Biodiversity metric
  • EKN (Ecosystem Knowledge Network) Tool Assessor
  • Eco-metric
  • Ecosystem Services Transfer Tool/Managing for Ecosystem Services Evidence Review
  • EVRI (Environmental Services Reference Inventory)
  • EVL (Environmental Values Lookup Tool)
  • LEED Toolkit
  • NEVO (Natural Environment Valuation Online)
  • ORVal (Outdoor Recreation Valuation Tool)
  • Woodland Valuation Tool

The guidance published today also includes a commentary on applying natural capital approaches at a local level.

This is a really important development for rural land management and valuation practitioners.  None of the material published today can be said to be new or novel, but its importance is that Defra has pulled it together in one place and in doing so stressed the importance yet again of adopting a Natural Capital Approach to the management and development of resources and assets.

Watch this space for more details to follow.  Meanwhile if you would like an early opportunity to discuss the importance of today’s announcement the Ecosystem Knowledge Network at Wetheral near Carlisle next Wednesday (29 January 2020) still has a few places: https://ecosystemsknowledge.net/events/training-rural-natural-capital.  We are also in Taunton in March.

Today’s material from Defra can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/enabling-a-natural-capital-approach-enca

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