The concept of “Natural Capital” has been around for a while in environmental science.
It describes the long-term services to society provided by the natural environment and is defined as “the elements of nature that directly or indirectly produce value to people, including ecosystems, species, freshwater, land, minerals, the air and oceans, as well as natural processes and functions” (Natural Capital Committee, 2017).
Government support for agriculture is changing. It is reducing and orientating more around natural capital. This is in contrast to previous policies, which in our part of the UK encouraged intensification of animal numbers in to the detriment of rivers. Private businesses are also looking more and more to offset negative effects on the environment resulting from their operations. There are therefore opportunities in both sectors for us to finance work that can help improve the ecology and fish stocks of our two rivers.
Thanks to Heritage Lottery funding, in 2021 we started a new natural capital department. Their task is to find these opportunities and turn them into tangible benefits for the rivers Wye and Usk.
Currently, their work falls into 3 broad areas – Nutrient Offsetting, Biodiversity Offsetting and Tree Planting.
You can meet our Natural Capital team or read more about the areas of their work below.