Natural Capital Approach in Surrey

Since the Partnership came into being in 2012, we have targeted the gathering of evidence to support the development of a Natural Capital approach in Surrey.

We aim to implement a strategy to lever sound investment into delivering a truly sustainable natural environment, within the context of supporting the county’s future economic prosperity and the health and well-being of all its people. This work is being pioneered in partnership, driven by the fundamental imperative of thriving, functional natural capital underpinning all we do. It advocates a multi-capital approach to delivering multiple benefits, implemented through collaboration and innovation. The Surrey Nature Partnership briefing note on the natural capital approach for Surrey provides more detail on this.

In November 2015 we published Naturally Richer: A Natural Capital Investment Strategy for Surrey which set out the strategic direction for implementing investment in Surreys’ natural capital assets. The full implementation plan for investing in our natural capital – the Natural Capital Investment Plan for Surrey was published in 2018.

Throughout the development of this approach we have developed key pieces of evidence and published several summary documents to support our work. These include:

Surrey Nature Partnership Valuing Surrey Project: Summary June 2015                  This project focused on developing an understanding of the value of the county’s natural environmental assets, underpinning the provision of a vast range of ‘ecosystem services’ from which we all benefit and indeed depend on for our very survival.

The majority of us are for the most part oblivious of or at least choose to ignore how important our natural environment is, largely taking the essential services we derive from it for granted. In Surrey, the continued resilience of our economy is wholly dependent on a healthy, functioning landscape. The Valuing Surrey project is helping to develop an understanding of the natural capital of Surrey and to communicate this message to a wide range of organisations and individuals. We hope the project will also inform ways of working and policy emergence in our two Local Enterprise Partnerships (Coast-to-Capital and Enterprise M3), and other Local Nature Partnerships.

Surrey Nature Partnership Biodiversity Offsetting, Summary June 2015                    Through the 2011 Localism Act’s ‘Duty to Co-operate’, the Surrey Nature Partnership has a statutory consultative role in strategic planning matters in Surrey.

In cases where development is unavoidable, implementation of a ‘net gain’ approach for biodiversity provides a regulated, quantifiable tool that may be used by developers and Local Planning Authorities to compensate for biodiversity loss. This is where conservation action – which will deliver a clear and measurable benefit to biodiversity – takes place to compensate for unavoidable and unmitigable damage caused by developments. This Biodiversity Offsetting project pre-dated the latest developments in the net gain approach, but successfully explored the scope for adopting the approach in Surrey.

As part of the evidence gathering for this work, one of our Partners, Surrey Connects commissioned the report A Resource Balance Sheet for Surrey, available  here.


For more information on any of our work please Contact Us


photos: Bluebells at Nower Wood  © Julia Gibson