News archive

Major conference on natural capital investment announced

15th November 2017

A major conference being organised by the Ecosystems Knowledge Network, taking place in London on 1st March 2018, will identify the best ways of securing much-needed investment in the UK’s natural environment.  The Natural Capital Investment Conference will be a significant step forward in the quest for new ways of financing the restoration of key natural features such as woodland and wetland.  The benefits that flow to everyone from this ‘natural capital’ have been valued at billions of pounds.

Improving access to nature - a cost-effective way of tackling health issues?

12th October 2017

There is a growing focus on the economic case for putting more resources into preventative healthcare, to reduce future demand on NHS services. At the same time, awareness of the benefits to people's physical and mental health of spending time in nature is increasing rapidly.

Wildlife and Countryside Link publish proposals on future of farming

29th September 2017

The Agriculture Working Group of Wildlife and Countryside Link, a coalition of 46 voluntary organisations in the conservation sector, has set out its ideas for a sustainable farming and land management policy in England. These proposals are driven by the current discussions around the future of support for the farming sector following Britain's departure from the EU. They make a case that policy should focus on environmental land management and securing public goods and benefits for all of society. There are three high level objectives identified:

Review of private sector investment in UK natural capital

13th September 2017

A review of 145 UK projects and initiatives involving private sector investment to improve natural capital has just been published by Defra. The aim was to provide a preliminary oversight of the current state of private sector investment in natural capital and ideas on how this can be scaled up. Amongst the projects included in the review some good examples of sourcing private finance were identified.

New vision for green infrastructure in Wales


17th August 2017

Wildlife Trusts Wales has published an outline of how green infrastructure can help fulfill the goals set in the Wellbeing and Future Generations Act in Wales. It puts forward a vision for green infrastructure in the country and lists numerous pieces of evidence for the multiple benefits of GI, from tackling health inequalities to increasing prosperity and improving community cohesion.

Read the full report on the Wildlife Trusts Wales website 

New Public Health England evidence resource

8th July 2017

Public Health England has published an evidence resource for planning and designing healthier places. It includes a short section on 'Access to and engagement with the natural environment', setting out evidence in ways that will be helpful to those working in the health sector.

Access the resource at:

Natural England report on engagement with the environment published June 2017

Natural England’s ongoing Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) survey provides data on people’s use and enjoyment of the natural environment. The survey has been running continuously since 2009 and every week conducts at least 800 interviews with a representative sample of adults in England.

Sustainable Development Goals introduction

On 21st June 2017, Open Government Network Northern Ireland organised a webinar entitled 'The Sustainable Development Goals in the UK: priorities, processes, participation'. It provides a helpful introduction to what the Goals mean for the UK. The ecosystem approach principles - the focus for the Ecosystems Knowledge Network - can help to put the Goals into practice.

A link to the recording is available at

Event: natural capital, wellbeing and the economy

How does Scotland's natural capital contribute to its national wellbeing and economy? This afternoon event (2pm - 4pm) on Wednesday 28th June 2017, organised by ESComm, will showcase different strands of work taking place to help determine how sustainable the use of natural capital is and where important risks and opportunities lie.

Speakers include:

Cornwall's nature-on-referral service


Cornwall Council has today (8th June 2017) launched a consultation on a Nature-on-Referral Service. This involves a hub that will coordinate and support work in this rapidly growing area; using our superb natural environment to make real changes in peoples’ health and wellbeing.  

The full consultation document and a summary on the webpage  is available at

Green prescription training - last chance to book

Best practice in commissioning green prescriptions - 7th June 2017, 10am - 4.30pm. Birmingham city centre (Austin Court B1 2NP)

This is a unique one-day training course to help professionals working in the health system to scope, design and implement a green prescription scheme in their locality.

The organisers are now able to make 10 places available at a much reduced rate of £60 (full course price £195). Bookings must be made by 5pm on 1st June. First come first served.

Natural capital "How to do it" workbook

The Natural Capital Committee for England has published a draft (version 1) workbook for natural capital assessment, along with a paper that sets out principles for selecting approaches to valuation of changes in the state of natural capital.

"This practical guide is aimed at anyone who wants to use natural capital approaches in making decisions about the natural environment. It is intended to support decision makers, including planners, communities and landowners, but has particular relevance for place based decisions."

Social prescribing and nature - new report

A Natural England report - Good practice in social prescribing for mental health: The role of nature-based interventions has just been published. 

Social prescribing is the mechanism which provides GPs with non-medical referral options, such as nature-based interventions alongside existing treatments to improve health and wellbeing - potentially at much less cost to the NHS. The prescription of nature-based interventions is often called a ‘green prescription’.

Our survey closes today

The Ecosystems Knowledge Network wants to know about you and how we can support your work. Please complete our short survey. It will help us to secure new funding for our work, as well as prioritise resources and events that meet your needs.

As a token of our thanks, we’ll select at random five people who complete the survey by noon on 18th January 2017 to receive £30 off one of our events in 2017. If need be, we'll refund this for bookings already made. 

Payments for ecosystem service pilots - evaluation published

Defra has published an evaluation of the process of supporting 16 pilot projects to investigate the feasibility of setting up payments for ecosystem services schemes. The report provides an overview of the pilots, along with an assessment of the impact and costs and benefits. Find a link to the report on our payments for ecosystem services landing page.

Welcome to our 2000th member!

We have just welcomed the 2000th member of our growing Network for professionals across the UK interested in managing the environment as an asset for the benefit of all. Susan Schnadhorst, Senior Environmental and Sustainability Advisor at construction business Osborne, joined after discovering our Tool Assessor service.

The Network is free and open to all. Encourage your colleagues to sign up by sending them this link.