Green Infrastructure Valuation Toolkit

Building natural value for sustainable economic development: Green Infrastructure Valuation Toolkit

Since December 2008 a project steering group including Natural Economy Northwest, the Northern Way, Natural England, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, Design for London and Tees Valley Unlimited, has been working with consultants (Genecon LLP) with support from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the three Regional Development Agencies in the North of England, Advantage West Midlands and the London Development Agency on the development of a valuation framework for assessing the potential economic and wider returns from investment in green infrastructure and environmental improvements.

Now that the project is complete, the Green Infrastructure Valuation Toolkit is being made available as a prototype and free open source resource that can be downloaded from the links below:

What does the toolkit include?

User guide (View/download)

Supplementary notes on revised runoff tool (tool 2.1) (View/download)

This provides details of what the Toolkit is for and a step by step guide on how to use it. The User Guide sets out the evidence base and rationale supporting each of the assessment tools, and provides case studies giving practical examples of how the Toolkit can be applied and the results presented. The Guide also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the Toolkit and highlights areas where further research or development work is needed

Calculator (View/download version 1.5)

This consists of a set of individual spreadsheet-based tools to assess the value of green assets or projects across a wide range of potential areas of benefit - such as climate change, health, or property values. Wherever possible results are given in monetary terms.

Creative Commons License

These resources licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Recommended citation: Natural Economy Northwest, CABE, Natural England, Yorkshire Forward, The Northern Way, Design for London, Defra, Tees Valley Unlimited, Pleasington Consulting Ltd, and Genecon LLP (2010). Building natural value for sustainable economic development: Green Infrastructure Valuation Toolkit. Version 1.4 (updated in 2016).

Why a toolkit?

This work is being published at a time of concern for England's economy, environment and society, as the country faces up to a series of profound and interlinked long term challenges. In the immediate future, economic austerity means that the rationale for every investment is being examined as never before and localism is the defining scale for policy. Every penny spent has to count. Local organisations, local people and local leaderships will be in the driving seat to address global challenges in their own area. There is a thirst for practical approaches that can foster economic growth and improve the places in which we live. Well designed, planned and managed green infrastructure can bring a wide range of benefits to local communities and places - and can underpin sustainable economic growth. But those wanting to make the most of this untapped potential face a number of challenges. Assessing the full range of benefits associated with a green asset, demonstrating how a green infrastructure proposal can add value to a broader developmental project or choosing between different green infrastructure approaches are not easy to do. The green infrastructure valuation toolkit has been developed in response to these challenges to help people to make good decisions about the value of change.

The Toolkit is by no means perfect - it does have limitations (which are fully explained in the User Guide) and there are a number of areas where better data and more knowledge would have been beneficial. Nevertheless the consortium believes that the products that have emerged from the project represent an important contribution to broader efforts to develop improved techniques for environmental valuation and are an important step forward. The project is being made available as a prototype toolkit so that the progress made so far can be more broadly understood and the lessons learned can contribute to further improvements to the evidence base allowing more and better tools to be developed within a more rigorous framework.

What will happen next?

Stakeholders and interested parties are invited to download, circulate to colleagues, experiment with the Toolkit, provide feedback and/or take part in forward development or research work in relation to:

- Experience of using the toolkit - good and bad!
- Other sources of improved or better evidence
- Suggestions on how the tools could be improved
- Ideas for new tools
- Development of the underpinning science.

The consortium of organisations who participated in the development of the Toolkit prototype has established a Green Infrastructure Valuation Network (GIVaN) to encourage and coordinate open source development of improved evidence, approaches and tools to support green infrastructure valuation.

Feedback, expressions of interest, and offers to undertake development work on the Toolkit should be sent to

Case studies

Other projects:
St Helens Countryside in and Around Town (CIAT) Planning
Green Streets
Mouth of the Weaver Landscape Masterplan