When designing a project, such as those displayed in our project maps, it is usual to carry out a Cost Benefit Analysis.  This is an exercise that weighs up the predicted costs of the project against the financial benefits that undertaking the project will bring.  It is usually expressed as a ratio of costs:benefits and benefits must outweigh costs to make the investment viable.  For example, a cost:benefit ratio of 1:3 means that for every £1 spent, £3 of benefits will be gained.

Assessing the benefits of environmental improvement projects is difficult because it requires a financial value to be assigned to environmental elements, such as water quality or biodiversity.  There are no universally accepted figures or methodology to do this.  Often, benefits are quantified by how much people are 'willing to pay' for these ecosystem services.

The Environment Agency has undertaken a high-level cost benefit analysis of actions deemed necessary to improve the river Ouse, so that the river will meet the ecological and quality standards required under the Water Framework Directive.  This analysis will help Defra decide upon how much improvements UK plc can afford in the 2nd cycle of River Basin Management (2015 to 2021).

The draft Final Appraisal Report for the river Ouse concludes that delivery of actions to improve the river are indeed cost beneficial, with a result of 1:3.8.  The methodology used for this assessment will be available on Defra's website during the public consultation on the draft 2nd River Basin Management Plans (running from September 2014 to March 2015). 

At this time the draft Final Appraisal Report has been redacted by way of Standard Notice.

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting. From an original concept by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.