Defining our approach



Ongoing Activities

  • 3 large stakeholder group events with representation from 90 organisations across the area and different sectors to steer and shape our approach
  • Monthly Technical Group meetings to develop mapping and technical approaches with specialists
  • User-specific workshops with utilities, infrastructure, planning and development and land management sectors – to ensure tools were fit for purpose
“We have defined and managed stakeholder engagement groups and forums to scope and refine approaches and outcomes”
The first phase of the project centred on developing an approach to build a natural capital plan for the Oxford to Cambridge area. Key to our success is working collaboratively with partners who will ultimately input to, or use and promote, the LNCP. Over the duration the project ran workshops with over 90 organisations from sectors including planning and development, infrastructure and land management. A number of projects focusing on natural capital planning and valuation have been trialled already, including through the Defra Pioneers and at a local level within this area by groups such as Local Nature Partnerships. At every opportunity we were engaging with these teams and built on their experiences and understanding – and augmenting their work wherever we can. To ensure the project was a success we continued to shape it at every stage with reviews and comments from our stakeholder user groups, other projects, policy makers and technical experts.

Tools & approaches review

Natural capital planning is a new and developing area and it became apparent from initial conversations with stakeholders and experts that a number of approaches were being taken forward in the area already, as well as elsewhere, and there was no single recognised approach to taking forward a project like this. Therefore we commissioned an independent specialist to undertake a review into the best approaches and tools for a local natural capital plan. This informed our work on the LNCP and outlined the key steps and elements that will support the creation of local natural capital plans elsewhere.
The review looked at over 80 different natural capital approaches and tools and was steered by the LNCP Technical Group of experts from across consultancies, universities and government bodies. Throughout the review, the LNCP team fed in outputs from our user workshops and our continued stakeholder engagement.


  • We should follow a six step approach to developing and delivering a local natural capital plan.
  • The LNCP should use a matrix-based tool with inherent logic evidence chains to determine ecosystem services.
  • A LNCP should engage and involve stakeholders throughout the different steps. This recommendation supports our existing co-design and development approach, and our continuous stakeholder engagement – something we will continue to do and advocate as we develop the LNCP.

Scoping and Objectives

  • Desk based research on natural assets, ecosystem services, benefits and plans
  • Define objectives
  • Develop scope
Step 1

Evidenced Baseline

  • Select priority data sets
  • Detailed analysis
  • Develop natural capital asset register
  • Develop biophysical flow register
Step 2

Drivers, pressures and risk register

  • Map drivers and pressures
  • Natural asset and ecosystem service trend analysis
  • Develop natural capital risk register
Step 3

Natural Capital accounting

  • Select what to measure and value, valuation type, technique and participants
  • Develop natural capital accounts – qualitative, quantitative and monetised
Step 4

Plan formulation

  • Develop enhancement opportunity mapping
  • Intervention, maintenance and investment plans
  • Monitoring plans
Step 5


  • Communication and evaluation
  • Policy response and feedback
  • Steps must be iterative and assessments are done consistently
Step 6
The six step approach to developing an LNCP and all the elements within each step