The Value of Green Infrastructure in Birmingham and the Black Country

The pressure on the natural environment, especially in urban areas, is increasing. One main reason is that ecosystem services and the benefits they provide to human welfare are ignored or strongly undervalued and not adequately assessed in planning and policy. Most benefits provided by Green Infrastructure are still fairly uncertain and not marketable. The term “Green Infrastructure” describes the structure, position, connectivity and type of green spaces. Environmental economist Oliver Hölzinger has undertaken work on behalf of the Wildlife Trust in an attempt to start to put a value on these services. These studies, including Economic Evaluation of projects at Moseley Bog and Moorcroft Wood LNR, can be downloaded from this page.

Within Birmingham and the Black Country, ecosystem services provided by woodland, heathland and wetland have been valued. Stating the best guess, 2,422 ha of Green Infrastructure provides an annual value of at least £20.8 million which results in £1.1 billion capitalised over 100 years. A detailed summary table can be found in the executive summary report. Considering the incomplete scientific evidence and partially insufficient baseline data, a wide range of ecosystem services are not included in this value. Therefore the findings can be interpreted as a minimum estimate of the total value.

Generally ecosystem services can be separated into four categories. Provision services cover e.g. the supply of food, raw material or medical resources. Services such as the moderation of extreme weather events or waste-water treatment can be categorised as regulation services. Furthermore, Green Infrastructure provides habitats for species and cultural services. The latter describes the nonmaterial benefits people obtain from contact with nature such as aesthetic appreciation or space for recreation.

Economic valuation of ecosystems can help to mitigate this undervaluation and is receiving increasing attention in politics and science. Monetarisation makes ecosystem services more tangible for decision makers and planners.

“Taking the value of our natural services into account isn’t an ‘optional extra’, it’s part of good policy making.” - DEFRA, 2010

Downloads

FilenameFile size
Executive Summary - The Value of Green Infrastructure in Birmingham and the Black Country - Executive Summary.pdf1.49 MB
The Value of Green Infrastructure in Birmingham and the Black Country3.25 MB
Economic Evaluation of Moseley Bog & Joy's Wood LNR.pdf1.99 MB
Economic Evaluation of Moorcroft Wood LNR (November 2011).pdf1.16 MB