Practical applications in the monetisation of environmental benefits

Sniffer’s annual Flood Risk Management Conference is only a week away. Angus Pettit, Technical Director, is presenting three case studies which look at practical applications in the monetisation of environmental benefits.

In a world of restricted budgets and competition for limited funds, the ability to demonstrate that your project costs are outweighed by the benefits, in addition to achieving the stated aims and wider benefits, is becoming ever more important. Whilst there are a multitude of techniques available to consider and qualify project aims and any wider social/environmental benefits, the failure to quantify the monetary benefits of restoration projects can risk underselling a business case.

Highlighting practical tools and applications for the following three diverse projects Angus will illustrate the types of benefits that can easily be valued and incorporated within a benefit-cost assessment or to assist with obtaining partnership funding.

Natural Flood Management

The Yoker and Duntochter Burns Natural Flood Management (NFM) study in Greater Glasgow, Scotland was driven by the Scottish Flood Risk Management Act 2009.  Illustrated in this case study is the use of widely available socio-environmental benefits that allowed us to evaluate the potential benefits of the proposed NFM and compare alternative sites. Benefits associated with flood damages, habitat creation, carbon sequestration, recreational, amenity and property premiums are all included.

Managed realignment

Benefits of habitat creation in a managed realignment study in Wales were assessed to determine whether more managed approaches to the realignment were valid and cost effective. The study used an ecosystem services approach to qualify the impacts with monetary values assigned to biodiversity gains, food services and climate regulation. Dis-benefits associated with the loss of farm rent were also incorporated.

Forestry planting

A theoretical forestry planting study in Nottinghamshire was used to compare typical flood benefits of NFM against the wider environmental benefits. Reviews of academic and grey literature combined with value transfer approaches were used to assign monetary benefits to the carbon sequestration of woodland, amenity and recreational benefits, biodiversity and habitat gains and economic employment benefits. The research showed that the inclusion of environmental benefits significantly helped to justify the proposals and were essential when land compensation costs were included within the analysis.

Lead for economic appraisal

As economic appraisal lead Angus is a specialist in flood damage calculations and economic appraisal. He has led a number of detailed flood appraisals for local authorities and other agencies in Scotland, England and Wales. Angus is currently delivering flood damage and economic appraisal training to over 200 Environment Agency staff in addition to managing the Borders Flood Studies projects which are appraising flood risk mitigation options for five communities in the Scottish Borders.

Want to know more?

We hope to see you at the Flood Risk Management Conference on 5 and 6 February. If you can’t make it, email Angus Pettit for more information on any of the projects mentioned above. You can also find out more on our flood risk management web page.

Why not take a look at our flood risk management training courses? Available as part of an open programme with scheduled dates throughout the year or as a bespoke programme developed to meet your specific requirements. Topics cover:

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