Natural Capital Management

CPD-level training for rural landowners, estate managers and their advisers

"Challenging and enlightening in equal measure, very good day." Archie Ruggles-Brise, Spains Hall Estate. Participant in the training course in Essex, July 2019

Upcoming course locations and dates

  • This face-to-face course is temporarily on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the meantime, we are offering an online course, led by Charles Cowap (independent rural advisor and trainer) with input from Ian Dickie (eftec, Economics for the Environment Consultancy)

Natural capital is a term used increasingly to refer to the ways the natural environment produces value for business and wider society. It reflects the idea that land can be managed so as to enhance ‘ecosystem services’ that arise from this natural capital. These services include the role of vegetation and soils in regulating flows of water and in storing carbon. Some of these services are of interest to businesses seeking to reduce costs, become resilient, or offset the impact of their operations. Other services, such as opportunities for recreation, may be regarded as public goods.

Rural professionals need to know the practical implications of the ‘natural capital approach’ now advocated by government. This one-day CPD level course is designed to equip rural landowners, estate managers and their advisers to formulate responses that make short- and long-term business sense.

Course content:

  • The public policy narrative and its incorporation into the planning system and a future Environmental Land Management Scheme
  • Techniques for valuing changes in the extent or condition of natural features
  • Tools for natural capital assessment at the estate level: asset registers, maps and accounts
  • Implications for business planning: participation in ecosystem service trading; implications for property value, access to finance and taxation

Learning objectives:

By participating, trainees will be able to:

  • Describe the benefits of the natural capital approach for the management of rural estates
  • Recognize the methods for economic valuation of changes in the extent or condition of natural features, so that you can engage valuation professionals effectively
  • Select appropriate methods for natural capital management assessment and mapping, and identify when and how to effectively engage third parties
  • Start engagement with the potential buyers of benefits from the management of natural capital - government through agri-environment schemes and private sector, such as water utilities.
  • Identify realistic business opportunities associated with the natural capital approach.


  • Trainees will learn through presentations, group and individual exercises, plenary discussion


  • Charles Cowap MRICS FAAV worked at Harper Adams Agricultural College, then University, for many years and is well known for his work at the university and with the profession on CPD and new developments.  In recent years he has taken a special interest in the development of thinking and policy around ecosystem services and natural capital which has led to numerous conference presentations including the RICS National Rural Conference, and to authorship of several RICS publications on the matter.  Now retired from academia, he continues to work on a consultancy basis providing specialist CPD and advisory support to the practicing profession.
  • Ian Dickie is a Director of eftec, the Economics for the Environment Consultancy. He is also a member of the Natural Capital Coalition Advisory Panel, a Director of the Aldersgate Group, a member of the ICAEW Sustainability Committee and a Fellow of the RSA.  He was an author of the Natural Capital Protocol and has directed natural capital accounting for the Duchy of Cornwall, London Boroughs, UK Water Industry and John Lewis Partnership. Ian was previously head of economics for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, whom he joined in April 2000.


TBC. For courses to date, we have been pleased to offer a 20% discount is available for members of the following organisations

  • RICS, CAAV, CLA, Institute of Agricultural Management, British Institute of Agricultural Consultants, Agricultural Law Association and Royal Agricultural Society

Express interest in a place on the next course