Nature’s recovery is essential for societal wellbeing. It is also a government priority; the Governments’ 25 Year Environment Plan (25 YEP) aims to improve the environment within one generation. The 25 YEP suggests a number of new approaches to help with the challenge. Natural capital is one such approach. Natural capital treats the environment as a set of assets which provide benefits to society. In order to inform best practice for the delivery of the 25 YEP, four Pioneers were set up across England.
Defra tasked the Pioneers with:
• testing and trialling a natural capital approach;
• exploring more integrated decision making and delivery;
• investigating innovative finance; and
• sharing lessons learned.
In this Pioneer we explored whether we could embed a natural capital approach, using economic evidence of the benefits that the environment was providing in North Devon within a participatory and deliberative process with partners from the North Devon Biosphere.
This report explains what we did to test and trial a natural capital approach and what we learned. It suggests a number of important lessons for anyone interested in applying a natural capital approach to plan for recovering nature in their place. It also demonstrates how the natural capital process interacted with the Pioneer’s investigation of improving decision making in rural land management.