Estates Gazette Rural View: Christmas Reading

I have been writing a quarterly column for the Estates Gazette since 2013 called Rural View.  This year’s articles have covered Water, Forestry, Scotland and farming safety.  If you’d like to catch up with any of the articles over the Christmas holiday, here they are:

Farming Safety: EG Rural View Dec 14 H&S

Scotland: Rural View Sep 2014

Forestry and Woodland Valuation and TaxationEG Rural View May 2014 Forestry

Water: EG Rural View February 14 Water

Meanwhile a happy Christmas and prosperous new year to all my readers and visitors.

The Privatisation of Biodiversity

Professor Colin Reid and Dr Walters Nsoh presented the conclusions of their research programme at the University of Dundee on 20 February 2014. Their research has focussed on the legal implications of the development of new ‘markets’ in natural capital. The emphasis tended to focus on biodiversity offsetting and payments for ecosystem services. Law Commissioner Prof Elizabeth Cooke provided an extremely helpful update on progress with the introduction of conservation covenants in England and Wales. The Parliamentary Draftsman is working on draft legislation following the Law Commission’s review last year so we are likely to see a new type of land covenant in the next two years or so. These covenants will be distinct because Continue reading “The Privatisation of Biodiversity”

Who wants what this time?

Systemic Solutions at the landscape-water interface was the title of a workshop held at Bristol Aquarium on Monday 10 February 2014, and I was asked to speak about the landowner’s perspective.

Who want what this time? was my opening question.  When dealing with anything in relation to rural land it’s vital to realise that you are rarely starting with a blank sheet.  Are you dealing with the Somerset Levels or the Cambridge Fens, Exmoor or the Peak District, or something in between?  Some of the items that may already be listed on that far-from-blank sheet include: Continue reading “Who wants what this time?”

From Market Value to Natural Value: Challenges to International Professional Practice

RICS launched this international thought leadership paper at its headquarters in Parliament Square, London on 15 November.

The paper reviews important business opportunities in the provision of nature’s services, or ecosystem services.  There are important opportunities for chartered surveyors to be involved in this.  Most obviously this will consist of working with clients to think through the opportunities and challenges to land management.

Less obviously the RICS and its membership has an important and unique contribution to offer to the development of these ideas.  Our long experience of regulated valuation work in challenging commercial environments, and our knowledge of the interaction between land tenure and asset management, are both examples of points which have scarcely yet been recognised in this emerging field.

There are also implications for valuation work.  Traditional valuation work will have to take account of new factors, and there will be requirements for entirely new types of valuation and appraisal.

The report itself is available from the RICS Website (follow this link).  I have blogged before on the top environmental business opportunities (link here)

The RICS presentation was followed by a lively debate with five panellists.  This has been summarised in the following YouTube video of the presentation and discussion which starts by looking at a project in Exmoor to improve water management, restore peat, and store carbon:

I would be very interested in feedback from readers on the ideas outlined in the paper, and to the ‘video’ as the use of video in this way is a new initiative.