Valuing Ecosystem Services in the East of England


Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Sub-national
Country or countries covered United Kingdom
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

Range of demonstration pilots and feasibility studies sites include: Forest of Marston Vale Blackwater Estuary City of Norwich Great Yarmouth and Whole of East of England

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

The specific objectives of the project were:

  1. To undertake a minimum of six case studies which demonstrate the value of some of the most important ecosystem services in the East of England;

  2. To analyse the results of the case studies to provide robust evidence that can be used to influence national and regional polices and provide a baseline for future work;

  3. To analyse the case studies to provide a better understanding of the value of some of the region’s most important ecosystem services;

  4. Within individual case studies, specific agendas should also be addressed, under the following 5 headings:

  • Coast - Show how the Ecosystem Services Approach can be embedded in the Shoreline Management Plan process;

  • Green Infrastructure - Identify the full range of ecosystem services that Green Infrastructure can provide in the particular situation and how it can be taken into consideration in regional and local planning and funding decisions;

  • Water - Identify potential ecosystem services related to positive catchment management;

  • Landscape Connectivity - Identify the ecosystem services provided by large scale landscape character and habitat restoration;

  • Soil and Land Use - Identify the functions and services of healthy soil management

Mandate for the assessment

As recognised in the Regional Economic Strategy for the East of England 2008–2031, the East of England has ‘some of the UK’s finest natural habitats’. At the same time the region has “one of the fastest growing regional economies in the UK”. The value of the natural environment in the East of England is ‘an integral part of the region’s current and future sustainable development’ (Regional Environment Strategy 2003) providing a range of benefits to its residents and visitors from food to clean water from traditional landscapes to protection from flooding. The fast rate of development could however potentially adversely affect the ability of the natural environment in the region to provide these essential and beneficial functions. This is the first study of this type in the UK to seek to apply an “Ecosystem Services Valuation” at a sub-regional and local scale and to assess how the approach and results can be used to input into planning and other decision making.

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

Please refer to Section 5 of the Full Report

Main Report

System(s) assessed

  • Coastal
  • Inland water
  • Forest and woodland
  • Cultivated/Agricultural land
  • Grassland
  • Urban
  • Heathland and Moor
  • Freshwater Wetlands
  • Riverine
  • Wetlands
  • Salt Marsh
  • Sand Dunes
  • Intertidal Habitats
  • Brownfield sites

Species groups assessed

Ecosystem services/functions assessed


  • Food
  • Water
  • Genetic resources
  • Medicinal resources
  • Ornamental resources


  • Climate regulation
  • Moderation of extreme events
  • Regulation of water flows
  • Regulation of water quality
  • Waste treatment
  • Erosion prevention
  • Pollination

Supporting Services/Functions

  • Habitat maintenance
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Soil formation and fertility
  • Primary production

Cultural Services

  • Recreation and tourism

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started


Year assessment finished


If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish

Periodicity of assessment

One off

Assessment outputs


Ecosystem Services Approach and Local Planning

Ecosystem services Arable Pilot

Glaves, P., Egan, D., Harrison, K. and Robinson, R. (2009) Valuing Ecosystem Services in the East of England, East of England Environment Forum, East of England Regional Assembly and Government Office East England

Glaves, P., Egan, D., Smith, S., Heaphy, D. Rowcroft, P. and Fessey, M. (2010) Valuing Ecosystem Services in the East of England, Phase Two: Regional Pilot Technical Report, Sustainability East.

Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

PowerPoints and video available at

Journal publications

Training materials

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

  • Scenarios
  • Economic valuation
  • Social (non-monetary) valuation
  • Ecosystem Services Valuation
  • Case study approach
  • Establishing common standards, methods and protocols
  • Spatial and local planning toolkit
  • Consultation and engagement toolkit
  • Option review toolkit

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

Primary Research - Consultation with key stakeholders, including:

  • Telephone interviews

  • Workshop event

  • Face to face meetings

  • Email correspondence

  • Consultation and engagement events

Key stakeholder groups engaged

Association of Local Government Archaeology Officers; Broads Authority; BTCV; Campaign for the Protection of Rural England; Civic Trust Societies, East of England; East of England Biodiversity Forum; East of England Regional Assembly; English Heritage; Friends of the Earth; Government Office, East of England; Groundwork East of England; National Trust; Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; Sustainable Transport East of England Region; The Wildlife Trusts; Woodland Trust

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process

More than 1000

Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Scientific information only
  • Resource experts (e.g. foresters etc)
  • Traditional/local knowledge

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

Main Report

  • Ecosystem Services Valuation: Appendix 5

  • Case Study Approach: Figure 6.1

Main Report

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

Available on enquiry

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

An ecosystem service approach has a relevance to a broad range of issues and policies as set out in The East of England Plan (the Regional Spatial Strategy and Regional Economic Strategy). These include within the Regional Spatial Strategy for the East of England the following: Core Spatial Strategy (including SS8 urban fringe and SS9 the coast), Economic Development, Regional Housing Provision, Regional Transport Strategy, Water and Environment.

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

For ecosystem services to be adopted as a tool there is a need to show how ES can: * Input into existing approaches/processes, e.g. spatial planning,

  • Add value (additionally) to these processes, and

  • Where relevant replace existing approaches.

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

Further non-technical guidance using real working examples and simple clear language is needed to improve understanding and fully engage people with the concept of Ecosystem Services and the valuation of these services. Buy- in and engagement of key stakeholders beyond the biodiversity sector requires case will need to be based on demonstration of the relevance of ecosystem services to their sector and examples of how such an approach can add value.

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

Network and sharing experiences, Access to funding, Workshops, Communication and awareness raising

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders


  • Targeted presentation of information needs to be developed – explaining how an Ecosystem Services Approach can help meet targets and obligations etc.

  • Language and practical examples used need to be relevant to each sector.

  • Training of key individuals (potential champions) is required; the successful approach adopted in some regions in Green Infrastructure training could be adapted.

  • Tools for engagement, buy in and conflict resolution are required, training of workers using an Ecosystem Services Approach is needed as off the shelf participation tools alone will not be sufficient to deal with the complex set of values involved and conflicts which can arise.

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

Issues identified:

  • Gaps in the current typology

  • Scale and focus of studies

  • Data, evidence and values

  • Potential barriers to the use of the Ecosystem Services Approach

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

A series of recommendations have been developed to address the issues identified

Additional relevant information

The Valuing Ecosystem Services in the East of England feasibility studies and demonstration pilots form part of a wider range of pilot studies (20) undertaken in Britain and mainland Europe relating ecosystem services to a range of practical planning and decision making situations including: green space planning, environmental impact assessment, community engagement, tackling poverty and multiple deprivation, valuation of protected areas etc.