What is nature worth to Britain?

Britain has finally but a price on the nature in the country; its lakes, rivers, parks and wildlife for the first time with a government commissioned study released this past Thursday attempting to protect nature but make a financial case doing so. It says that health benefits by just living near a green space are worth annually up to £300 per person.

Prior the focus was solely on market value of the resources that could be sold and exploited like food crops and timber while the caring for the sustainability of the environment was looked upon as a cost.

Therefore there are certain resources and habitats that have been allowed to degrade and decline. The National Ecosystem Assessment will be the tool to determine planning policy. By highlighting the value like green spaces and views of urban parks there is hope that developers will allow for increased numbers of natural green areas when planning a housing development for example.

The study 33% of Britain’s services that are being provided by nature that includes things such as pollination of plants, fish stocks and others are being damages. Over 30% of all services related to the ecosystems are declining or being degraded.

One big challenge is trying to balance the sustainability of the other services nature provides with the production of resources and food. One of the leading authors of the study Ian Bateman said one of the reason to put economic values on the environmental good and services was to give them equal footing with market based goods that dominate.