APEM help clients to use the natural capital approach to evaluate, protect and improve the natural environment through the projects they deliver. 

Natural capital is a way of quantifying the value of the ecosystem services provided by the environment to society, including river catchments. We recognise that ecosystem services interact with each other and that they need to be evaluated holistically to optimise outcomes.

The natural capital approach is at the heart of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. It is expected to drive better decision making and improved outcomes across a range of projects from flood risk management to water security and for a range of industries from water to development and infrastructure.

Natural capital is now included within the water resources planning guideline (Environment Agency, 2021) and its associated supplementary guidance. Water resource management plans now are required to: 

‘ensure their plan contributes to the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity, delivers net biodiversity gain where appropriate, delivers environmental gain and uses a proportionate natural capital approach’ (EA, 2021)

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Natural capital and ecosystem service mapping

Combining data from ground-based surveys by our field team with data gathered by our remote sensing teams from satellite and digital aerial surveys, we can produce detailed maps and images that help clients to visualise natural capital and ecosystem services. These tools are also a powerful way to engage with stakeholders and the results can be used for marketing purposes.

Water resource and quality assessments

APEM undertake ecosystem service assessments and evaluations ranging from setting baselines and carrying out impact assessments through to delivering options appraisals and detailed designs. These can be used for water resource management plans, water quality assessments or water cycle studies. They help our clients to create and protect the natural environment and increase resilience to future changes and growth.

Catchment investigations and management

Using our integrated catchment management approach, we identify pressures and opportunities for natural capital projects at the river catchment level including water quality, habitat restoration and water resource management schemes.

Habitat restoration

APEM’s multi-benefit approach helps habitat restoration schemes achieve greater results for the environment and local stakeholders. Our pressure and opportunity maps help identify projects for our clients, as well as providing ecosystem service assessments and evaluations that feed into cost-benefit analyses.

Monitoring programmes

Guided by the needs of our clients, our field scientists and remote sensing experts design and implement short-term or long-term monitoring programmes for natural capital. APEM’s field team undertake monitoring programmes at sites throughout the UK and Ireland, while our remote sensing expertise provides a cost-effective way to look at whole river catchments by using high resolution imagery from satellites and survey aircraft.

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The APEM team can help you to:

  • Implement the natural capital approach for water resource management plans, including natural capital accounts and ecosystem service assessment for decision making
  • Undertake baseline natural capital assessments and accounting for your specified geography
  • Identify the most significant benefits and positive natural capital impacts for your business and local community
  • Identify opportunities to optimise your activities, for example in water resource schemes and habitat restoration projects
  • Monitor, measure and collate evidence for natural capital and ecosystem services
  • Combine natural capital assessments with other assessments such as strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and/or biodiversity net gain (BNG)
  • Support impact assessments such as EIA, HRA or impacts on the natural environment from pollution incidents
  • Carry out options appraisal to mitigate impacts and ensure no deterioration of the environment
  • Natural capital and ecosystem service assessments
  • From single-site projects such as installing fish passes up to whole river catchment schemes, we can identify, evaluate and help you improve natural capital and ecosystem services relevant to your business and project needs in compliance with all relevant legislation and guidance
  • Develop bespoke tools and approaches to meet your business and project needs using existing data
  • Engage with stakeholders and regulators on natural capital, including facilitating within regional groups and catchment groups
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Related content

Read one of APEM’s blogs, news articles or case studies to find out more.


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