On behalf of the UK government, the Forestry Commission (FC) has appointed Arup and eftec to develop a new public resource detailing how trees and woodlands can be implemented as scalable nature-based solutions (NbS).

The guidance will assist industry actors with related interventions, including identifying appropriate funding mechanisms for individual sites, as well as embedding nature creation, enhancement and restoration into planning applications and local policy.

Arup and eftec will collaborate with stakeholders across the built environment and infrastructure sector to assess the economic and social value created by trees and woodlands when delivered as NbS, as well as outlining the individual green finance and funding mechanisms that are enabling implementation and mobilisation. By undertaking cost and wider benefit analyses, the guidance will provide critical insight around projects’ associated economic outcomes, offering strong foundations for future business cases.

The respective sustainable development and environmental economics consultancies will evaluate a diverse set of case studies collated from across the UK, presenting individual economic assessments and outlining key recommendations for cross-sector stakeholders.

With biodiversity net gain (BNG) legislation coming into effect from the 12th of February 2024, planning authorities will be able to use the insight offered in the report to assist with the assessment of planning applications at pace.

Organisations seeking to use NbS as part of their transition to net zero and to improve the resilience of their land, buildings or infrastructure to flooding and extreme heat, will be able to refer to the guidance to understand what funding is available and how best to invest for the most sustainable outcomes. The guidance will also map how trees and woodlands, a scalable NbS intervention, can be embedded in development schemes and implemented across sectors, accelerating the transition from theory to practice.

The Arup-eftec partnership will use the findings to support the development sector, assisting with the strategic and tailored introduction of trees and woodlands to specific schemes through continued engagement.


What they say

The Forestry Commission is pleased to be working with Arup and eftec on the trees and woodlands as nature-based solutions project. This project will help to identify where creating or managing trees and woodlands can be a cost-effective option to tackling environmental issues. It will deliver case studies and guidance for the development sector that will demonstrate the value of trees and woodlands to meet multiple objectives and support the creation of new woodlands as nature-based solutions. 

Andrew Canning-Trigg

Head of Planning, Infrastructure and the Built Environment, Forestry Commission

Nature-based solutions are fundamental to creating resilient places and will play a key role in restoring nature. Trees and woodlands are a vital element to enhancing biodiversity as well as contributing to the UK’s carbon balance, improving air quality and reducing flood risk. Their importance requires careful and intricate consideration at every stage of a project, from site identification to ongoing management. This research will contribute to the international body of work being undertaken to quantify the benefits of nature. 

Luke Thompson

Associate, Arup

Our evidence on the economic and social values of trees and woodlands will help increase the uptake of NbS by developers and planning authorities. Only by working together at scale, can we realise these values for the benefit of all.

Ece Ozdemiroglu

CEO, eftec