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Defra launches natural capital tool

Words: Laura Edgar
Biodiversity / iStock-520327791

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched an online resource to guarantee ‘better’ environmental decision-making by valuing natural capital.

The tool hosts a “comprehensive and integrated” set of evidence and guidance about natural capital in the UK.

Policymakers, businesses, landowners and public sector organisations will be able to use the tool.

The government thinks this approach to natural capital will make it easier for public and private organisations to better assess and value the environment, which will in turn help to deliver long-term benefits, a reduction in flood risk, boosts to wildlife, improvements to water and air quality, and opportunities for biodiversity net gain.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said the tool meets a commitment from the government's 25-year environment plan to better incorporate the value of nature and the benefits the environment provides to us all.

“This comes at a critical time when the protection of our environment is ever more important in combating climate change and reversing habitat loss.”

To develop the resource – ‘Enabling a Natural Capital Approach’ (ENCA) – Defra worked with its agencies and was informed by the work of academic, professional and voluntary bodies such as the Valuing Nature Network.

Matthew Farrow, executive director of the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) said: “In bringing together all the relevant resources in one place, ENCA will make a huge difference to the ability of businesses and their advisers to assess how their actions and investment decisions can be aligned with protecting and enhancing the natural environment on which we all rely. EIC is delighted to have provided member cases studies for ENCA and looks forward to promoting it.”

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