A webinar introduce the eco-metric, and update prospective users following the latest phase of its development, will take place on 30th April 2019.

Defra (the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) and Natural England are working with a consortium led by the University of Oxford to develop the ‘eco-metric’ to measure the ability of habitats to deliver ecosystem services.  It can be used to measure the net changes in natural capital and the ecosystem services it provides as a result of land-use change or development.  Critically it is biodiversity led, with biodiversity net gain a pre-requisite of applying the tool.

The 25 Year Environment Plan (25 YEP) states HM Government’s goal of leaving the environment in a better state than we found it.  It highlights the opportunity to expand the net gain approaches used for biodiversity to include wider natural capital benefits.  A Defra consultation in 2018 led to the announcement in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement that biodiversity net gain will become mandatory for housing and infrastructure development under the Town and Country Planning Act.  The eco-metric is a potential future mechanism for delivering natural capital net gains in a way that is underpinned by biodiversity net gain.

The eco-metric works alongside the Defra biodiversity metric, mirroring the approachby applying a matrix of scores for different habitats and ecosystem services, which are modified by multipliers reflecting habitat condition, spatial location, delivery risk, and the time taken for new habitats to reach maturity.

In phase 1 we developed a draft approach (download our webinar).  In phase 2 we are aiming to finalise the methodology drawing on the expertise of habitats and ecosystem services specialists.  We are developing a spreadsheet tool for data entry that will allow ‘eco-metric’ calculations to be completed in a simple and easy to use format and are testing the tool in a series of pilot projects across England. 

We will report on the findings through a webinar to the Ecosystems Knowledge Network on 30th April 2019, with final reports published later in 2019. Click here for more information.

Clare Warburton; Natural England; 2nd April 2019


Watch the first Ecosystems Knowledge Network webinar on Eco-Metric

Measuring net gain in natural capital and ecosystem services - the eco-metric approach from Ecosystems Knowledge Network on Vimeo.