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UK natural capital: ecosystem accounts for urban areas

The Office for National Statistics has been developing estimates of so-called ‘missing capitals’ to complement its headline measures of the economy.

As part of that work, new figures have been published on the value of urban green spaces.

These figures show that green and blue spaces – such as parks and lakes – added an estimated £2,446 (£67.8bn in total) to the average price of a house in the UK in 2016.

The amount of carbon removed by woodland in UK urban areas was estimated to be worth £89.0m and noise mitigation by urban vegetation led to a saving in £14.4m in avoided loss of quality of life years. Meanwhile the total value of recreation spent in nature in the urban environment was valued at £2.5bn in 2017.

The figures also showed that the total annual value of cooling from green and blue space was valued at £243.6m in labour productivity savings and avoided air conditioning energy costs in 2017 in Great Britain, while the removal of pollution by urban green and blue space equated to a saving of £162.6m in associated health costs.