The Mayes Brook restoration in Mayesbrook Park, East London: an ecosystem services assessment

Geographical coverage

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

Mayesbrook Park is a green space in a densely populated urban area deficient in access, amenity and ecology, where investment in ecosystems and facilities can make significant contributions to the wellbeing of people in an economically deprived ward.

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

To evaluate the projected outcomes of a programme of work to restore the Mayes Brook and its associated floodplain in Mayesbrook Park, East London, in terms of the benefits this will bring to ecosystem services in the area. The aim of the report is to explore the key benefits of restoring the river reaches, areas of floodplain and associated parkland, by assessing the many natural benefits that they may provide for the local community.

Mandate for the assessment

The Mayes Brook restoration was initiated by a partnership of the Thames Rivers Restoration Trust (TRRT), the London Borough of Barking Dagenham (LBBD) and Environment Agency. The latter commissioned the River Restoration Centre (RRC) to look for the best urban centre to use as an exemplar of urban river restoration (RRC, 2007). Additional partners guiding the project include Natural England (NE), the Greater London Authority (GLA), Design for London (DfL), London Wildlife Trust (LWT) and World Wildlife Fund UK. The project to restore the brook fulfils the local and national Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) goals to protect and enhance reedbeds and wetland habitats.

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)

Economic valuation

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

System(s) assessed

  • Inland water
  • Grassland
  • Urban

Species groups assessed

Ecosystem services/functions assessed


  • Food
  • Water
  • Timber/fibres


  • Air quality
  • Climate regulation
  • Moderation of extreme events
  • Regulation of water flows
  • Erosion prevention

Supporting Services/Functions

  • Habitat maintenance
  • Nutrient cycling

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


Everard, M., Shuker, L. and Gurnell, A (2011) The Mayes Brook restoration in Mayesbrook Park, East London: an ecosystem services assessment. Environment Agency. UK.

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

This case study has been included in UK Government policy papers, in various conferences, in a review chapter in a book (Everard, M. 2012. 25. What have Rivers Ever Done for us? Ecosystem Services and River Systems. In: Boon, P.J. and Raven, P.J. (eds.) River Conservation and Management, Wiley, Chichester. pp.313-324), as posters in conferences, etc.

Journal publications

The case study has been recorded in various scientific publications including the report and communications materials outlined above.

Training materials

The case study is used in a variety of training materials within the Environment Agency, in learning materials used with the Government of South Africa, Blekinge Technical University (Karlskrona, Sweden) and the University of the West of England (UK).

Other documents/outputs

See the above

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

  • Economic valuation
  • Social (non-monetary) valuation
  • As above

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

The Thames Rivers Trust (formerly the Thames Rivers Restoration Trust) undertook extensive stakeholder engagement during project scoping and development to improve the design, process and outcomes.

Key stakeholder groups engaged

Local resident groups

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process

Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Dr Mark Everard from the Environment Agency was brought in to consider the system outcomes for ecosystem services, with academics from Queen Mary’s London University involved in river and corridor design. Extensive scientific input from the Environment Agency and Natural England was secured throughout

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

Multiple, but none specifically was of overriding importance.

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

Policy impact

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

The uptake of the case study into Defra materials, the UK National Ecosystem Assessment and other publications demonstrates uptake into the policy environment

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Part of the review chapter: Everard, M. 2012. 25. What have Rivers Ever Done for us? Ecosystem Services and River Systems. In: Boon, P.J. and Raven, P.J. (eds.) River Conservation and Management, Wiley, Chichester. pp.313-324

Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

Optimisation of outcomes across ecosystem services can deliver cumulatively greater societal value than more fragmented approaches on an issue-by-issue basis

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

The project itself was a major learning experience for the Rivers Trust movement, the Environment Agency, Natural England and all other participants

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

This is a slow process of organisation culture change, the Mayesbrook Park experience constituting one plank in a wider transition.

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

Better linkage is required on vegetation impacts on air quality leading to health outcomes in quantifiable terms.

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

The report is transparent about methods and assumptions used, including gaps in knowledge.

Additional relevant information