The results of a unique, forward looking study by PML, RSPB & Marine Renewables Energy Exchange Programme demonstrates the relative values of the goods and services provided across the Severn Estuary, and shows the part the natural environment plays in underpinning both our economy and our wellbeing, has been launched. To read more click here
The Severn Estuary and inner Bristol Channel is one of the UK’s largest natural wonders. Submerged and exposed twice per day by the second highest tidal range in the world and fed by freshwater from the Severn, Usk and Wye and Avon upstream, its mosaic of habitats includes energy rich mud flats, creeks, saltmarsh and shoreline. Such diversity means the estuary harbours a wealth of wildlife which is constantly changing as the seasons come and go, and the tides ebb and flow.
However, the estuary is not just a natural wonder, it has been a centre of trade and industry for centuries and is the home of the great port cities of Bristol and Cardiff and more recently has become the focus as a site for tidal energy. Balancing the various demands on the Severn Estuary to ensure its sustainable future as both an important wildlife site and as a resource for developments of economic and social significance, requires a deep understanding of the ‘goods and services’ the estuary provides. Estimating the relative values of such competing demands in a complex system is essential.
A project, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Marine Renewable Energy Knowledge Exchange Programme, was carried out jointly by PML and the RSPB. It set out to identify locations within the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel where key ecosystem services are found, these include: ports and shipping; carbon storage; flood risk management; wild food, fisheries and migratory fish; and archaeology and a sense of place. The project then mapped these services and explored the potential for valuing and quantifying the levels of benefit for each service. Click here to read more.