Natural Course launched the outputs from its Natural Capital Account and Ecosystem Services and Opportunity Mapping Study for the Irwell Management Catchment at a dissemination and training workshop held on 23rd April in Manchester. The report provides compelling evidence that the natural environment of the Irwell Management Catchment provides significant and sustained value to society. Highlighting the continuing need to reverse historic environmental decline, create a more inclusive society and prepare for new development and climate change, the report also shows where investment will enhance the ecosystem services provided and increase its natural capital.
Key headlines from the report include:
- The natural environment alongside the waterbodies has an existing natural capital value of £418 million per year. The study area makes up 12% of the Irwell Management Catchment and therefore the value of the natural environment throughout the whole Irwell Management Catchment will be higher.
- The natural capital value arises from ecosystem services which flow to society. Values of £105 per annum/per head arise from the combined physical and mental health benefits associated with use and enjoyment of waterbodies and associated greenspaces.
- The study area also provides ecosystem services with significant values in water quality, water resources, amenity, flood risk mitigation and carbon sequestration. There are tangible natural capital values associated with agriculture (food production) and timber production in the study area, however these will be much higher across the Irwell Management Catchment as a whole.