Natural Capital (Working Group)

  • NCWG Chair: Hazel Trenbirth (ONS)
  • Secretariat Lead: Lisa Norton
  • Secretariat Support: Marcia Spencer

Natural capital assets are those aspects of the natural environment that underpin delivery of ecosystem services or benefits (see figure). In relation to natural capital metrics, UKEOF aims to identify relevant environmental observation priorities and gaps. Maintaining a healthy stock of natural capital assets is a key government objective and meeting that objective requires an effective monitoring strategy.

Natural Capital - 3 categories of metrics

Figure: Metrics for natural capital assets, major types of land use and benefits from natural capital. (a text description of the figure is provided at the end of this page)

Although the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) suggests that for many assets we have good data about their quantity and distribution, little has been done to-date at a strategic level to optimise environmental observation for the purpose of natural capital assessment.

To address this, the UKEOF Natural Capital Working Group (NCWG) is coordinating activities to bring the relevant organisations together in order to develop a monitoring strategy for natural capital. The UKEOF partners include most of the statutory delivery and operational players who together collect and hold much of the essential data.


The objectives of the Natural Capital Working Group are:

  1. Inform partners about the latest developments on quantifying Natural Capital at UK and international level
  2. Analyse the partners’ strategies to pinpoint which partners have most relevance and responsibility, and identify which are already leading. This is achieved through maintenance of a partners’ natural capital activity table
  3. Identify existing monitoring which can contribute to Natural Capital Assessment
  4. Update the UKEOF catalogue for key relevant datasets e.g. by broad habitat
  5. Identify areas where the observations are weakest for metrics, and where work to improve them is already underway (to avoid duplication)
  6. Consider and compare approaches across the UK in order to understand different approaches, and enable coordination where diverging approaches are adopted.  This would focus on practicalities of monitoring and/or high level strategies
  7. Summarise the outcomes and propose ways forward.


Habitat Condition Indicators advice note cover


Habitat Condition Indicators Advice Note - This advice note considers why quality/condition indicators are important for monitoring natural capital. It is aimed at government agencies as well as organisations and businesses who are looking to apply the natural capital approach.




Underpinning UK Natural Capital Approaches


Underpinning UK Natural Capital Approaches - This leaflet, produced in 2019 by the UKEOF community (UKEOF Natural Capital Working Group), aims to share knowledge and best practice for incorporating existing environmental monitoring into a natural capital management approach. It provides a general introduction to natural capital, an overview of current work on assessing natural capital assets across the UK and, using three case studies, shows how current monitoring schemes have been adapted for use in natural capital assessment.

Complete reference list for Underpinning UK Natural Capital Approaches leaflet




    Report from UKEOF natural capital workshop, Environmental Observation to Support Natural Capital Assessment (April 2017)


Member organisations

If you would like to get involved or find out more information please contact the secretariat on

Current member organisations are:

  • British Geological Society (John Bloomfield)
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Parsa Mohammadpour, Karen Mullin)
  • Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. Northern Ireland (Ken Bradley, Stephen Emerson^)
  • Environment Agency (Ruth Jones*)
  • Forestry Commission (Ben Ditchburn)
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee (Paul Robinson, Rory Barber^)
  • Met Office (Debbie Hemming)
  • Natural England (Tricia Rice)
  • Natural Resources Wales (t.b.c.)
  • NatureScot (Hanna Espie, Lucian Fernandez-Slade)
  • Office for National Statistics (Glen Everett & Adam Dutton)
  • The Office of Environmental Protection (James Farr)
  • Ordnance Survey (Kitty Rose)
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Nicola Melville*)
  • Scottish Government (Peter Phillips, Kerstin Hinds, James Skates)
  • UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (Lindsay Maskell)
  • UKEOF (Lisa Norton, Marcia Spencer, Jo Savage - Observer)
  • Welsh Government (Neil Paull)
  • Woodland Trust (Christine Reid)

*Corresponding member

Description of figure on this page

The figure shows three boxes arranged horizontally. The box titles are: 'Metrics for Natural Assets', 'Metrics for major land-use categories' and 'Metrics for Benefits (Values)'. Within each box are lists, as follows:

Metrics for Natural Assets (left box)

Species; Ecological communities; Soils; Freshwater; Land; Atmosphere; Minerals; Sub-soil Assets; Coasts; Oceans.

Additional text in this box reads: 'As well as the natural processes and functions that underpin their operation'.

Metrics for major land-use categories (middle box)

Mountains, Moors and Heaths; Enclosed Farmland; Semi-natural Grasslands; Woodlands; Freshwaters; Coastal Margins; Urban; Marine.

Metrics for Benefits (right box)

Food; Fibre (including Timber); Energy; Freshwater; Clean Air; Recreation; Aesthetics; Amenity; Wildlife; Equable climate. 

Large arrows pointing both to the left and to the right connect these boxes, indicating that they are linked.

An arrow extends from the bottom of the 'Metrics for Natural Assets' box to a block of text. This text reads 'Direct links between assets and benefits are complex and difficult to measure'. The arrow is labelled 'Dispersed, interconnected and dynamic'.

A second arrow links this text block to the 'Metrics for Benefits' box.

[End of figure description]