This study for Defra investigated the potential for Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) to deliver changes in land management to tackle soil erosion, reduce flood risk, and deliver a range of other benefits, such as enhanced biodiversity, within the 17km2 Winford Brook catchment, to the south of Bristol.
The study, entitled Payments for Ecosystem Services – Round 3: Winford Brook PES Pilot Research Project, was one of five funded by Defra under its third round of PES Pilot projects. It was delivered by a Eunomia-led consortium included Bristol Water, Wessex Water, the Avon Wildlife Trust Consultancy (AWT) and TLT Solicitors. The project gained support from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and the West of England Nature Partnership. The project partners worked closely with the Environment Agency, Natural England, Bath & North East Somerset Council, and North Somerset Council
Key findings presented in the report relate to:
- The use of avoided dredging costs to determine the marginal financial benefits from reductions in erosion within a catchment;
- The relative cost-effectiveness to water companies of managing soil nutrients on land within the catchment compared to investment in traditional ‘grey’ infrastructure;
- The situations where an adviser-led approach to identifying interventions to fund may provide a more cost-effective outcome than can be achieved by using a ‘reverse auction’; and
- The institutional and legal considerations in setting up a multi-beneficiary contributory PES fund.
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