Natural Capital Strategy
Natural capital underpins our economy. In October 2019, we commissioned a study to understand the value of natural capital to the local economy and to understand the risks of “business as usual”.
The research found that natural capital supports 10.9% of GVA, making a significant contribution to sectors such as agriculture, tourism and food manufacturing, whilst also supporting skills retention, inward investment, and the physical health of the workforce across the wider economy.
Key recommended priorities from the research include:
- Achieve a 2.9MtCO2e increase in GHG sequestration and improve biodiversity by 2050, with an increase in the quality and quantity of priority habitats such as woodland, peatland, species-rich grassland and wetland, and the priority species reliant upon these habitats.
- Grow our natural capital economy by 31% by 2050, worth £946m in GVA, through the expansion of existing direct industries, such as forestry and tourism (increasing by 102% and 33% respectively), as well as supporting the growth of indirect industries such as food manufacturing and bio-tech (by 8% and 136% respectively).
- Develop healthier communities and improving the wellbeing of our workforce through increased access to green space, which enables recreation, active travel and more inclusive environments. In addition, good quality urban green infrastructure attracts inward investment and talent, as well as improving welfare.
- Improve our climate change resilience in the event of floods, heat waves and/or droughts in the region, which also provides cost savings to both businesses and residents.
- Take a catchment area approach to flood mitigation considering both upstream investment alongside flood alleviation work.
- Improve our air quality, leading to reduction in deaths related to air pollution.
- Improve our water quality, due to reduction in pollution incidents and sedimentation.
To move forward our work in this area, Y&NY LEP are working with partners to co-design an approach to develop a Natural Capital Investment Plan for the region.