UK’s natural capital ‘is worth almost £1 trillion’

The Office for National Statistics says it has started ‘building accounts of the UK’s nature’

The UK’s natural capital has been valued at almost £1 trilllion.

A new report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests in 2016, natural features such as nature, landscapes, mountains and waterways, coupled with the services and benefits they provide, were worth a total of £951 billion.

These services include sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and renewable energy, as well as fishing, timber and water resources, fossil fuels and minerals.

It states the cooling shade of trees and water saved the UK £248 million by “maintaining productivity and lowering air conditioning costs” on hot days in 2017, while cumulative 1,238 years of life were saved through vegetation’s air pollution-filtering effect in 2017.

In 2016, living within 500 metres of green and blue space was estimated to be worth £78 billion to UK homes.

The report notes: “From these assets, people receive a flow of services, such as mountain hikes and fish captured for consumption.

“We can value the benefit to society of those services by estimating what the hikers spent to enable them to walk over the mountain or any profit from bringing the fish into the market. Applying this logic consistently across assets and services enables us to start building accounts of the UK’s nature.”

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