Guidance for policy and decision makers to help them consider the value of a natural capital approach.
A natural capital approach to policy and decision making considers the value of the natural environment for people and the economy.
Enabling a Natural Capital Approach (ENCA) resources are data, guidance and tools to help you understand natural capital and know how to take it into account.
You should use ENCA resources if you’re a:
- government economist or analyst
- public sector organisation interested in understanding the scientific and economic evidence around the natural environment
- private practitioner, interested in natural capital evidence, tools and resources used in government
ENCA aims to:
- build capacity among users to assess and value the natural environment by providing comprehensive information and resources
- reduce search costs for analysts and decision makers
- provide a platform to update tools and guidance as knowledge develops
- identify new evidence and areas for development
ENCA is recommended for use by HM Treasury's Green Book: appraisal and evaluation in central government (2020) and represents supplementary guidance to the Green Book.
You should check that you’re using the latest versions of these resources. Defra updates them regularly with new evidence.
ENCA guidance is a comprehensive document providing information and resources for Natural Capital. It covers:
- the natural capital framework
- economic valuation of the environment
- how project or policy appraisal can incorporate natural capital
- natural capital accounting principles and methods, benefits and challenges
- applying natural capital at a local level
ENCA assessment template
Use the Excel worksheet template to assess the potential effects of a policy or project on natural capital. It follows the 4-step approach in The Green Book:
- Describe the context.
- Consider biophysical effects.
- Consider welfare effects.
- Consider uncertainties and optimise outcomes.
Use the worksheet alongside Section 3 of the ENCA guidance.
ENCA services databook
ENCA services databook provides around 200 sources of selected biophysical and valuation evidence for:
- ecosystem services such as food production, flood regulation and recreation
- environmental impacts such as air pollution and noise
- tailored guidance and a simple explanation of each impact
ENCA assets databook
ENCA assets databook collates over 100 UK data sources, tools and studies for the 8 natural capital asset categories:
- enclosed farmland
- mountain, moor and heathland
- coastal margins
- semi-natural grassland
ENCA featured tools
ENCA featured tools includes summaries of tools developed or supported by Defra and its agencies. These tools provide:
- valuation evidence
- biodiversity metrics
- valuation of outdoor recreation
- ecosystem services management
ENCA case studies
ENCA case studies are real-world examples of how:
- natural capital approaches are used at a range of spatial scales
- economic valuation is used to inform decision making
- natural capital accounting works at various spatial scales
- projects attempt to create new streams of income from investment and maintenance of ecosystem services
For any enquiries related to ENCA, email the Environment Analysis Unit