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Green Infrastructure


Best I can do in the time ... Martin Moss. Natural England. Senior Advisor Green Infrastructure Operations England. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure The Economic Benefits.
  • Martin Moss.
  • Natural England.
  • Senior Advisor Green Infrastructure Operations

Why is GI of interest to you?
  • A view from Cumbria.
  • Cumbria GI Investment Strategy March 2014.
  • Cumbria LNP GI Thematic Group.
  • Green Infrastructure is relevant to you because
    it involves every organisation that has an
    interest in Cumbrias economy, environment and
    people. It provides wide-ranging benefits from
    inward investment, to health and well-being. But
    it requires a co-ordinated approach from those
    organisations to realise its potential.
  • Conclusion the benefits of GI are derived from
    working together its a complex game.

Green Infrastructure some key points.
  • What is this thing called GI?
  • Natural systems of infrastructure delivering
    ecosystem services.
  • Ecological benefits the Ecological Network.
  • Community benefits health and well-being,
    live-able places etc.
  • Economic benefits how natural environment helps
    support and deliver economic activity.

What do we mean by economic benefits ?
  • We can talk about economic benefits in different
  • From an Economists perspective.
  • From a general perspective.

An Economist Would Say
  • Benefits from environmental features are
    identified through logic chain analysis, or
    theory of change.
  • But not all benefits behave the same.
  • We can talk of economic value and economic

Important distinction what sort of economic
benefit is it?
The effect of a change on the happiness and welfare of society, regardless of whether this effect is felt through the market. The effect of a change on the size of the traded economy, commonly measured using GDP
Low impact
High value
A more general understanding how do we get them?
  • In a non-technical sense economic benefits are
    sometimes described as
  • Direct.
  • Indirect.
  • Cost reduction.
  • Risk management.
  • Direct cash economy transactions for goods
    and services (requires interaction between green
    and business infrastructure).
  • Indirect societal values or supporting
    transactional economy.
  • Cost reduction reduction of heating / water
    bills, better resource efficiency (cost to
  • Risk management eg reduced flood risks (profit
    to cost).

The evidence base a bit of advertising.
  • Extensive, increasing, multi-disciplinary but
    still early days.
  • Many research questions are being identified as
    gaps in understanding become apparent.
  • BUT
  • Natural England have compiled a broad literature
  • First published in 2012 MEBIE 2 is due to be
    published soon.
  • Thorough review of literature on the benefits of
    investment in the natural environment.
  • Over 100 new pieces of evidence.
  • Simplified format.
  • New chapters on
  • Consumer Spending,
  • Pollination and
  • Pest Control.

  • Three key sections.
  • Relating evidence (services) to significant
    themes (Social welfare, economic growth, climate
  • Economic competitiveness.
  • Services provided by nature.
  • Reflects the fact that interest can be either
    about a specific ecosystem service or broad
    societal interests.

Economic Competitiveness.
  • Considers
  • Consumer spending
  • House prices
  • Labour productivity
  • Regional investment
  • Tourism and recreation.

Summary of findings (1)
Section Availability of evidence Effect of natural environment
Economic competitiveness Economic competitiveness Economic competitiveness
Consumer spending Average Positive
House prices Good Positive
Labour productivity Poor Unclear
Regional investment Good Positive
Tourism and recreation Good Positive
Key Availability of evidence Poor/Average/Good Ef
fect of natural environment Positive/Negative/Unc
lear Locally negative effects have been
observed for poorly maintained greenspaces, but
on average the effect is positive.
Tourism and recreation
  • Many tourist and recreational activities are
    heavily driven by the natural environment. The
    economic value of these activities can be
  • In 2012-13 there were an estimated 2.85 billion
    visits to the natural environment in England.
    Total expenditure was estimated at between 17.6
    and 24.5 billion (Natural England 2013).

Labour productivity
  • Although plausible, there is a lack of evidence
    to suggest that the natural environment directly
    contributes to improvements in labour
  • It may contribute indirectly through improvements
    to worker health.

Specific services provided by nature 1.
Section Availability of evidence Effect of natural environment
Ecosystem services Ecosystem services Ecosystem services
Air quality Good Positive
Coastal flood risk management Good Positive
Food, water and other provisions Good Positive
Freshwater flood risk management Good Positive
Global climate regulation Good Positive
Mental health Good Positive
Specific services provided by nature 2.
Section Availability of evidence Effect of natural environment
Ecosystem services contd. Ecosystem services contd. Ecosystem services contd.
Noise Average Positive
Pest control Average Positive
Physical activity Good Unclear
Pollination Good Positive
Social cohesion Average Positive
Temperature regulation Good Positive
Water quality Good Positive
Locally negative effects have been observed for
poorly maintained greenspaces.
Air quality
  • Air pollution poses significant risks to human,
    plant and ecosystem health. Evidence is strong
    that vegetation, particularly trees, can
    contribute to air quality improvements.
  • 547 ha. of mixed greenspace within a 10 x 10 km
    square of East London could significantly reduce
    pollution with an estimated effect of two deaths
    and two hospital admissions avoided per year
    (Tiwary, Sinnett et al. 2009).

Coastal flood risk management
Alkborough Flats is a managed re-alignment scheme
on the Humber estuary. The sea wall was
deliberately breached to allow flooding of former
farmland. Cost benefit ratio was estimated at
12.72 (Everard 2009)
  • Coastal environments such as saltmarshes can
    provide effective flood protection as well as
    biodiversity and recreational benefits

How can benefits be assessed ?
  • An emerging discipline, still very early days.
  • A range of existing toolkits.
  • Tend to be either
  • Broad ranging but lack robustness.
  • Narrow range with higher levels of robustness.
  • NE review 2013.
  • More work in progress.
  • CAVAT Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees
  • Green Infrastructure NorthWest?s Green
    Infrastructure Valuation Toolkit
  • Guide to valuing Green Infrastructure from the
    Centre for Neighbourhood Technology Chicago
  • Health Economic Assessment Tool for walking and
    cycling (HEAT)
  • Helliwell
  • i-Tree Design
  • i-Tree Eco
  • i-Tree Streets, and
  • InVEST Integrated Valuation of Environmental
    Services and Tradeoffs.

Some tips.
  • Results from more than one tool, you may not
    always be able to add the results together
    different units and/or overlaps leading to double
    counting risk.
  • Different tools have different purposes use
    should be fit for your purpose - For example,
    CAVAT is designed to help estimate the financial
    compensation for damage to street trees.
    Therefore, it uses the cost of planting and
    maintaining a tree as its economic value. This is
    fit for the tools purpose but it is not fit for
    the purpose of cost benefit analysis.
  • Where you feel you are not sure about the
    suitability, process and results of a tool, you
    should get in touch with an appropriate scientist
    and/or economist! The results of a tool are only
    ever as good as the quality of the data you use.

Further information.
  • Key links
  • Available via NE website
  • Micro-Economic evidence for the Benefits of
    Investment in the Environment.
  • Green Infrastructure Valuation Tools Assessment.
  • Green Infrastructure as a Catalyst for Economic

Thank You.
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