Autumn 2017 Budget

Have you noticed how reports that want to be seen to be greener than they perhaps are use green font for headings? For example in the Autumn 2017 Budget for the UK.

A budget that lumps housing and environment in the summary table does not give me much hope but I skimmed on cause curiosity never killed a cow…

Some interesting numbers about money:

  • per capita GDP predicted to go down
  • additional £3 billion for Brexit (doubt much, if any, will be about the environment)
  • Defra resource budget is £1.6 billion now (compared to £27.5 billion for defence, I can’t not add) and goes down to £1.5 billion over the next two years

Air quality – not enough but at least it has its own budget line. The same cannot be said of other environmental improvements.

Environmental tax – pages 37 and 38 are of interest: in case you don’t like what you read there, read on later on page 38 – alcohol duty is frozen – unless you are a fan of white cider! Let me be fairer: further work on reducing plastic waste is on the horizon and that’s a great development building on the success of the plastic bag tax.

Flood defence and energy investments are mentioned on page 52 as part of productivity. Good to protect people and property from flooding but not if we continue to build a huge amount of houses and reforms to planning permission system that are covered by the budget don’t mention the environmental impacts of house building or potential conflicts between various guidance documents at the local level (a point the Climate Change Committee recommended in their review of the National Adaptation Plan back in July but government rejected).

Unlikely to be intended but the support for long term investment could encourage pension funds investing in natural capital. “Hope is the bread of the poor” a Turkish proverb says.

It would have been good to see some mention of natural capital – at least in the context of local growth policies, given the natural capital pioneers, and given the Conservative Party’s commitment in their manifesto to the 25 Year Environment Plan.

There are commitments to R&D, and to ‘big data’ from previous years in the form of making more of the vast geospatial data the UK holds. These will make producing evidence easier, but will such evidence be used in decision making…. “Hope is the cake of the poor”…

GE 2017 

Labour, LibDems, and Greens are along the same end of the scale – admittedly a longish scale. In fact, I have not read the manifestos, but from leaders’ debates and other coverage, it seems Plyd Cymru and SNP also share similar views. Having said that this is an extrapolation as coverage of environmental issues in the debates has been next to nothing which I find shameful!

Conservatives and UKIP are towards the other end of the same scale but there seems to be a larger gap between these two parties than there is between the other three.

So, another election, another read of the manifestos…now I’d better stock up the butter cups for a long night on the 8th June!

#GE2017 Green Party

green party

This is a rather late and a shorter version. But the Green Party made it easy to pick out their environmental pledges. They are the only party with a separate environment manifesto – perhaps not surprisingly. It can be seen here.

Green Party’s key environmental policies are on this webpage, easy to see:

  • An Environmental Protection Act to safeguard and restore our environment, protect and enhance biodiversity, promote sustainable food and farming, and ensure animal protection.
  • A public works programme of insulation to make every home warm and investing in flood defences and natural flood management to make every community safer.
  • Equality of access to nature and green spaces, to enhance leisure, health and wellbeing.
  • Active ongoing cooperation with businesses and other countries to limit global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees and aiming for 1.5 degrees.
  • Replacing fracking, coal power stations, subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear with the clean green efficient renewable energy of the future, and investing in community owned energy.
  • Introduce a one-off fine on car manufacturers who cheated the emissions testing regime and create a new Clean Air Act, expanding and funding a mandatory clean air zone network.
  • Strong protection for the Green Belt, National Parks, SSSIs and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • A wider, more effective network of marine protected areas around our coasts, including fully protected no take zones.
  • Tough action to reduce plastic and other waste, including the introduction of Deposit Return Schemes, with a zero waste target.

#GE2017 UKIP

UKIP logo

UK Independence Party

You can click on the title above to go to the page where you can see the Manifesto. The costings are presented in the last two pages of the manifesto document. The summary below shows quotations from the manifesto (in italics with page numbers reported) and some commentary.  The titles are mostly as they appear in the manifesto, unless statements are grouped.

Brexit and the Environment

One of the six Brexit tests in the UKIP manifesto is vaguely environmental:

“3 THE MARITIME TEST: The UK’s full maritime sovereignty must be restored and we must have control of our maritime exclusive economic zone, which stretches 200 miles off the coast or to the half-way point between the UK and neighbouring countries. There must be no constraints on our fishing fleet other than those decided upon by the UK parliament.” p.7

I say ‘vaguely’ because it is strongly implied the control over the maritime zone would prioritise the financial gain from fisheries (“rebuild the once flourishing fishing industry” p.8) rather than protection of the fish population. However, this is an implication, not an explicit statement.

Boosting the fishing industry comes up as a means in the chapter on Creating Coastal Enterprise Zones, too – even though the chapter is about generally coastal towns and tourism resorts rather than a new planning zone for enterprise as the title may lead one to think.

The reference to control of maritime exclusive economic zone could be read as ‘UK maritime waters for UK fishing fleet alone’. However, on page 9, the manifesto pledges to “Introduce a time-limited, paid licence fee option for selected foreign vessels to fish within the UK’s territorial waters, while the UK fishing industry re-establishes itself.”

Sound National Finances, a Lower Cost of Living

UKIP will remove VAT from domestic energy bills and scrap the green levies currently added to our bills to subsidise renewable energy schemes. Together, these measures will cut typical household energy bills by £170 a year.” p.10. There is no mention in the manifesto if alternative support will be provided for renewable energy, though preference is clearly for low cost fossil fuels in the Energy Security chapter.

Solving Britain’s Housing Shortage

UKIP is the only party being realistic about what can be done to increase the housing supply and putting forward a viable solution: a bold policy to roll out high quality, low cost factory built modular (FBM) homes, affordable on the national average wage of £26,000.

Factory-built homes should not be confused with the pre-fabs of the past. They are built to last, to high design standards, and are energy efficient, with running costs up to 30per cent less than traditional homes.” p.16

Trade Not Aid

UKIP pledges to cut the 0.7 % of GDP aid budget and close down the Department for International Development. However,

“[They] will continue to fund projects that make a real difference: clean water programmes, childhood inoculations, medical assistance, and disaster and emergency relief….

We will continue to fund projects that make a real difference: clean water programmes, childhood inoculations, medical assistance, and disaster and emergency relief….

We will not engage in unethical trade practices that harm or inhibit their trade, traditional lifestyles, or natural resources” p.48


“Electrically propelled vehicles are now a serious option for many families but the charging infrastructure is not keeping pace. UKIP will support the installation of rapid charging stations in towns and cities, and encourage off street parking and charging provision in all new housing and industrial developments through the local planning process….

A scrappage scheme giving diesel car owners up to £2,000 to get rid of their vehicles has also been   introduced, and UKIP supports this; however, we will combine it with an incentive scheme encouraging drivers to exchange their vehicles for electric or hybrid models. UKIP will prevent diesel drivers from being penalised through higher taxes, parking fees, or emissions’ zone charging…. UKIP will continue to support the expansion of smaller regional airports. p.51

Protecting Our Environment

This section starts with reference to Brexit not putting environment, farming and fisheries at risk. The key points are summarised below (from pages 52 – 53):

  • The Water Framework Directive led to serious flooding in many parts of the country by preventing river dredging. Repealing this directive will spare homeowners the misery of flooding and exorbitant insurance premiums.
  • UKIP will promote evidence-based environmental schemes, and safeguard protection for Britain’s wildlife, nature reserves, areas of outstanding natural beauty, countryside, and coastlines in a new Environmental Protection Act, prioritising policies to protect our precious countryside for future generations.
  • Major infrastructure projects will be required to give much more respect to irreplaceable natural habitats.
  • UKIP will amend planning legislation to promote inclusion of trees and open space into new developments. We will also require new developments to use permeable or porous surfacing materials for single-storey, ground level domestic car parking and front gardens, so rainwater can drain.
  • We will investigate the practicality of introducing a deposit scheme on plastic drinks bottles to encourage recycling.

2015 pledges that are repeated include the following:

  • Prioritise brownfield rather than greenfield or agricultural land for new housing
  • Support farming and wildlife though grant schemes prioritising the preservation of natural habitats
  • Match fund grants made by local authorities for rural capital projects which enhance the local environment or help recovery from environmental disasters
  • Protect dolphins by banning the use of pair trawling for sea bass Offer local referenda to overturn unpopular development

Food Production and Animal Welfare

“We will introduce a UK Single Farm Payment (SFP) that operates in a similar way to the present EU system. The major difference will be that UKIP’s SFP will be more ethical. It will end EU discrimination in favour of larger, intensive farms, and support smaller enterprises. Subsidies will be capped at £120,000 per year and, to make sure payments reach farmers, not just wealthy landowners, we will pay only those who actually farm the land. Organic farms will be paid 25 per cent more, and additional support will be given to hill farmers. There will be no set-aside, cropping or rotation restrictions.” p.55

Expected environmental impacts of these changes to the agri-environment scheme are not mentioned in the manifesto.

Our Future Energy Security

“Every political party except UKIP has thrown its weight behind the 2008 Climate Change Act. Set to cost us an eye-watering £319 billion by 2030, this Act has no basis in science, and its aim of cutting greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050 is unachievable. It is a textbook exercise in legislative folly, brought about by nothing more than a competitive cross party ‘dash for green.’

While our major global competitors in the USA, China and India are switching to low-cost fossil fuels, this Act forces us to close perfectly good coal-fired power stations to meet unattainable targets for renewable capacity. If we carry on like this, the lights are likely to go out.

UKIP will repeal the 2008 Climate Change Act and support a diverse energy market based on coal, nuclear, shale gas, conventional gas, oil, solar and hydro, as well as other renewables when they can be delivered at competitive prices. We will also withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, to enhance our industrial competitiveness.” p.56

The manifesto, sadly, does not offer any evidence to support the claim that the Climate Change Act has no basis in science.

UKIP will allow fracking to ensure fuel security, though the manifesto states the party “will not, however, allow drilling for shale in our national parks or other areas of outstanding natural beauty.”

libdem logo

LibDem Manifesto – Environmental Coverage

LibDems have the longest section on the environment. You can click on the title above to go to the page where you can see the Manifesto. There are no costings that accompany this manifesto. The summary below shows quotations from the manifesto (in italics with page numbers reported) and some commentary.  The titles are mostly as they appear in the manifesto, unless statements are grouped.

Brexit and Environment

“Maintaining environmental standards: The European Union has created the highest environmental standards in the world. We have a duty to future generations to protect our environment and tackle climate change. Liberal Democrats will ensure that everything is done to maintain those high standards in UK law, including the closest possible co-operation on climate and energy policy.” P.11


We will ensure that the National Infrastructure Commission takes fully into account the environmental implications of all national infrastructure decisions.” P.37

Traditional indicators of economic activity such as GDP are poor guides to genuine prosperity and wellbeing. We will therefore introduce a National Wellbeing Strategy covering all aspects of government policy, including health, housing and the environment.” P.39

Devolved Administrations

  • “Provide assistance to areas heavily dependent on fossil fuel industries, such as the north-east of Scotland, to diversify away from these industries.
  • Give the immediate go-ahead to the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project.” P.44

Keeping Our Country Green

This is the main environment chapter of the manifesto. The priorities are:

  • “Ensuring that four million properties receive insulation retrofits by 2022, prioritising fuel-poor households.
  • Preventing 40,000 deaths a year with our Air Quality Plan to reduce air pollution.
  • Ensuring British farming remains competitive and doesn’t lose out – refocusing support towards producing healthy food and public benefits.” 47

This Section is too long to reproduce here (pages 47 – 54). But as a summary:

Five new green laws are proposed: a Green Transport Act, a Zero-Carbon Britain Act, a Nature Act, a Green Buildings Act, and a Zero-Waste Act to “incorporate existing EU environmental protections, maintain product standards such as for energy efficiency, and establish a framework for continual improvement”. P.47

The Liberal Democrats pledge to pass a Zero-Carbon Britain Act to set new legally binding targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040 and to zero by 2050.


The manifesto includes the aim to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030, restore government support for solar PV and onshore wind in appropriate locations and build more interconnectors to underpin this higher reliance on renewables.

Saving energy will be a top infrastructure priority and a new Green Buildings Act will be passed to set new energy efficiency targets, including a long-term ambition for every home in England to reach at least an energy rating of Band C by 2035. The comment I made about overheating when reviewing the Labour manifesto about insulating houses applies here too.

Close to our work the chapter also mentions the Natural Capital Committee (the only manifesto to do so, so far, though of course outcomes are more important than processes). The Liberal Democrats will pass a Nature Act to “put the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) on a statutory footing, set legally binding natural capital targets, including on biodiversity, clean air and water, and empower the NCC to recommend actions to meet these targets”. P.50

International Development

“Provide greater resources for international environmental co-operation, particularly on climate change and on actions to tackle illegal and unsustainable trade in timber, wildlife, ivory and fish.” P.85

#GE2017 Labour Party


Labour Manifesto – environmental coverage

‘Environment’ appears as a sub-title in the ‘Leading Richer Lives’ section. While I like the acknowledgement of the contribution of the environment to ‘richer’ lives, I was initially concerned that they allocated only one page to the topic out of 123. But reading through the whole text reveals environmental issues have been woven into almost all the Chapters.

You can click on the title above to go to the page where you can see both the Manifesto. The costings that accompany this manifesto can also be found in the same link. The summary below shows quotations from the manifesto (in italics with page numbers reported) and some commentary.  The titles are mostly as they appear in the manifesto, unless statements are grouped.

Industrial Strategy

National and local government spends £200 billion a year in the private-sector procurement. Labour will put that spending power to good use to upgrade our economy, create good local jobs and reduce inequality. We will require firms supplying national or local government to meet the high standards we should expect of all businesses: paying their taxes, recognising trade unions, respecting workers’ rights and equal opportunities, protecting the environment, providing training, and paying suppliers on time.” P. 14

Environmental Policy and Brexit

“We will drop the Conservatives’ Great Repeal Bill, replacing it with an EU Rights and Protections Bill that will ensure there is no detrimental change to workers’ rights, equality law, consumer rights or environmental protections as a result of Brexit.

Throughout the Brexit process, we will make sure that all EU-derived laws that are of benefit 􀈂 including workplace laws, consumer rights and environmental protections – are fully protected without qualifications, limitations or sunset clauses.” p.25

A Labour approach to Brexit will ensure there can be no rolling back of key rights and protections and that the UK does not lag behind Europe in workplace protections and environmental standards in future.” p.26


We will transform our energy systems, investing in new, state-of-the-art low-carbon gas and renewable electricity production” p.12

“…ensure that 60% of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030” p.14

“…to ensure we meet our climate change targets and transition to a low-carbon economy” p.20

For renters, Labour will improve on existing Landlord Energy Efficiency regulations and re-establish the Landlord Energy Saving Allowance to encourage the uptake of efficiency measures.” p.21

Labour will ban fracking because it would lock us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels, long after the point in 2030 when the Committee of Climate Change says gas in the UK must sharply decline.” p.21

Climate Change – mitigation and adaptation

“Labour will insulate four million homes as an infrastructure priority to help those who suffer cold homes each winter.” p.20. This insulation design and materials should also take account of homes overheating due to increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather (like heat waves) due to climate change (see Climate Change Risk Assessment).

We will insulate more homes to help people manage the cost of energy bills, to reduce preventable winter deaths, and to meet our climate change targets.” P.60

We will reclaim Britain’s leading role in tackling climate change, working hard to preserve the Paris Agreement and deliver on international commitments to reduce emissions while mitigating the impacts of climate change on developing countries.” P.118


We will retrofit thousands of diesel busses in areas with the most severe air quality problems to Euro 6 standards.” P.91

We welcome the work done by the Airports Commission, and we will guarantee that any airport expansion adheres to our tests that require noise issues to be addressed, air quality to be protected, the UK’s climate change obligations met and growth across the country supported.” P. 92


Replace our dysfunctional water system with a network of regional publicly-owned water companies.” p.19. Commenting on the merits of this, or supporting this proposal (or not) is not my intention, neither am I able to do this. Serious work needs to be undertaken on defining dysfunctional, assessing the feasibility of this proposal and drawing regional boundaries. If the regions were defined according to catchment (or several catchments) boundaries, then they would be in line with the ‘catchment management / partnership’ approach that has been gaining traction.

Land Use

We will prioritise brownfield sites and protect the green belt.” p.60

Environment Sub-Section – key actions (p 93-94)

Investing in our environment is investing in our future. We will defend and extend existing environmental protections. We will champion sustainable farming, food and fishing by investing in and promoting skills, technology, market access and innovation.

  • prioritise a sustainable, long-term future for our farming, fishing and food industries, fund robust flood resilience, invest in rural and coastal communities, and guarantee the protection and advancement of environmental quality standards.
  • Labour will introduce a new Clean Air Act to deal with the Conservative legacy of illegal air quality.
  • We will safeguard habitats and species in the ‘blue belts’ of the seas and oceans surrounding our island.
  • We will set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste.
  • We will protect our bees by prohibiting neonicotinoids as soon as our EU relationship allows us to do so.
  • We will work with farmers and foresters to plant a million trees of native species to promote biodiversity and better flood management.
  • Labour will keep them in public hands.
  • Our stewardship of the environment needs to be founded on sound principles and based on scientific assessments. We will establish a science innovation fund, working with farmers and fisheries that will include support for our small scale fishing fleet.



Conservative Manifesto – environmental coverage 

The environment is not mentioned in the table of contents neither in the five giant challenges. If you counted the number of times the word ‘environment’ is repeated in the text, your hopes may be raised. But the word is more often used in a different context like ‘business environment’, ‘regulatory environment’ and so on.

The previous manifesto’s pledge is repeated albeit in slightly different words: I believe the previous one referred to ‘the greenest government’.  Also previously the logo was a green tree.

Finally, we pledge to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it. That is why we shall produce a comprehensive 25 Year Environment Plan that will chart how we will improve our environment as we leave the European Union and take control of our environmental legislation again.” p.26

The 25 Year Environment Plan has been in preparation for about two years (with the initially high expectations of content recently reduced to an outline).

You can click on the title above to go to the page where you can see the Manifesto. There are no costings that accompany this manifesto. The summary below shows quotations from the manifesto (in italics with page numbers reported) and some commentary.  The titles are mostly as they appear in the manifesto, unless statements are grouped.

Industrial Strategy

We will ensure industry and businesses have access to reliable, cheap and clean power.” p.19. It would have been good to see a reference to ensuring best practice environmental management, even if not minimising environmental impacts, mentioned in the Industrial Strategy where this quote is taken from.

We will therefore commission an independent review into the Cost of Energy, which will be asked to make recommendations as to how we can ensure UK energy costs are as low as possible, while ensuring a reliable supply and allowing us to meet our 2050 carbon reduction objective.

And because for British companies, an energy-efficient business is a more competitive business, we will establish an industrial energy efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills.

For instance, while we do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, we will maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities. ” p.22

We will therefore develop the shale industry in Britain. We will only be able to do so if we maintain public confidence in the process, if we uphold our rigorous environmental protections, and if we ensure the proceeds of the wealth generated by shale energy are shared with the communities affected.” This and more detail on how this ambition will be met can be found on page 23.


We want almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050 – and will invest £600 million by 2020 to help achieve it. We will invest in more low-emission buses, as well as supporting audio-visual displays for bus passengers and community minibuses for rural areas poorly served by public transport.” p.24

Towns and Cities

Our towns and cities should be healthy, well-designed and well-tended places. We will take action against poor air quality in urban areas. In addition to the 11 million trees we are planting across our nation, we will ensure that 1 million more are planted in our towns and cities, and place new duties on councils to consult when they wish to cut down street trees. We will encourage the very best practice in the design of buildings and public spaces, including a review of the design of government buildings, to ensure that when the state builds, it makes a positive contribution to a local area. We will do more to reduce litter, including by supporting comprehensive rubbish collection and recycling, supporting better packaging, taking new powers to force councils to remove roadside litter and prosecuting offenders. We will do more to improve the quality of road surfaces, filling potholes – especially in residential areas – and reducing road noise.” p.25

The Environment and Brexit

We have huge ambitions for our farming industry: we are determined to grow more, sell more and export more great British food. We want to provide stability to farmers as we leave the EU and set up new frameworks for supporting food production and stewardship of the countryside. So we will continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of the parliament. We will work with farmers, food producers and environmental experts across Britain and with the devolved administrations to devise a new agri-environment system, to be introduced in the following parliament.


We will help Natural England to expand their provision of technical expertise to farmers to deliver environmental improvements on a landscape scale, from enriching soil fertility to planting hedgerows and building dry stone walls. We will deliver on our commitment to improve natural flood management, such as improving the quality of water courses to protect against soil erosion and damage to vulnerable habitats and communities. We will continue to ensure that public forests and woodland are kept in trust for the nation, and provide stronger protections for our ancient woodland.” p.26

When we leave the European Union and its Common Fisheries Policy, we will be fully responsible for the access and management of the waters where we have historically exercised sovereign control. A new Conservative government will work with the fishing industry and with our world-class marine scientists, as well as the devolved administrations, to introduce a new regime for commercial fishing that will preserve and increase fish stocks and help to ensure prosperity for a new generation of fishermen. To provide complete legal certainty to our neighbours and clarity during our negotiations with the European Union, we will withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention. We will continue our work to conserve the marine environment off the coast of the United Kingdom.” p. 27

Protecting the global environment

We will continue to lead international action against climate change, and the degradation of habitat and loss of species.” p.38

The United Kingdom will lead the world in environmental protection. As Conservatives, we are committed to leaving the environment in better condition than we inherited it. That is why we will continue to take a lead in global action against climate change, as the government demonstrated by ratifying the Paris Agreement. We were the first country to introduce a Climate Change Act, which Conservatives helped to frame, and we are halfway towards meeting our 2050 goal of reducing emissions by eighty per cent from 1990 levels.

We will champion greater conservation co-operation within international bodies, protecting rare species, the polar regions and international waters. We will work with our Overseas Territory governments to create a Blue Belt of marine protection in their precious waters, establishing the largest marine sanctuaries anywhere in the world.” p.40


GE 2017

Call me a silly cow but I’m excited about this election because I don’t think it’s only about Brexit!

I think it’s about making a decision on what role we want for the public sector and policy in all areas of government. It’s about the vision for the kind of country we want to live in. A good Brexit deal will then be one which helps us the most in making that vision reality.

It is also for this reason that I’ve read the main parties’ manifestos and will be writing a series on their coverage of environmental issues and policies.

I did this back in 2005. It was the first election I could vote in, in these pastures.

In 2010, I only searched for some key words through the texts.

This year….did I say I am excited about this election?!

So, every day this week you will get a review of the environmental pledges of a political party.  I’ll add the links here as they come online.

Conservative Party manifesto 2017 – environment overview

Labour Party manifesto 2017 – environment overview

Liberal Democrat manifesto 2017 – environment overview

UKIP manifesto 2017 – environment overview

Green Party manifesto 2017 – environment overview

For a final word from me on the manifestos click here

Busy, busy, busy

We’ve been silent here but we’ve been busy. Busy with the daily tasks and busy with thinking about what the future will hold for us all, given Brexit and other world events.

As part of this latter busyness we were at the UK Network for Environmental Economists (UKNEE) and Natural Capital Initiative (NCI) organised an event on 7th February 2017. We wanted a forum to talk about risks and opportunities waiting for the future of evidence based policy.

115 people registered for the seminar, most within the first few days of announcement. This is the biggest turnout for the evening seminars either organisation has ever hosted. The participants were economists, environmental scientists and others working for private companies, public agencies and NGOs covering a wide variety of sectors including water, agriculture and insurance.

The UK has a proud tradition of evidence-based policy making, including for the environment. While there has never been a time evidence influenced all decisions, the pressure on this tradition has been rapidly increasing. Changing policy priorities and the role of public sector in and alongside the markets, and cuts to research budgets cause this pressure. Brexit brings added uncertainty.

We – the communities the UKNEE and the NCI represent – will be stronger if we produce policy options, not only evidence; if we cooperate and if we speak out.

See here for the seminar report and ideas for further actions and events.

Also see here for a larger event organised by ENDS on Brexit.

Economics is interested in how people use their limited resources to meet their needs and wants. In this way, it is also relevant to other disciplines also interested in how choices are made, and to support decision-making.

So economists have developed some methods to account for the non-market goods and services we all enjoy. These methods are sometimes misinterpreted as putting a price on the environment, selling it off, commodifying it, etc., when really the main aim is to understand some of the reasons why and how the environment is valuable to people. A better understanding of this can help people make decisions that place more of the due emphasis on the environment, facilitating policies and actions based on a more accurate indication of its value. Otherwise, there are many examples where the value of the environment is only realised when it’s gone – and then it’s too late.

To address these issues and to improve understanding of economic valuation, the Valuing Nature Network brought together over 100 volunteers from those who collate and analyse economic value evidence, those who use it and those who work in other disciplines who provide direct input economic valuation or use the results.

The resulting 12-page paper, Demystifying Economic Valuation, covers the main issues, questions, and principles surrounding economic valuation and is designed as an overview for those new to economic valuation.

The paper is the first of the Valuing Nature “Demystifying….” Series, and was funded as part of the Valuing Nature Programme, which aims to improve understanding of the value of nature both in economic and non-economic terms, and improve the use of these valuations in decision making.

If you are not a member of the Valuing Nature Network, you can sign up here: http://valuing-nature.net/network