Placements 2016 - Dan Bloomfield

Cornwall Council and the University of Exeter: maximising the human health and wellbeing value of nature in a local government contex

Cornwall Council and the University of Exeter were partners in this placement, which built on other ESRC and NERC-funded work in this area. Dr Dan Bloomfield from the University of Exeter worked primarily with the Strategy Team in Cornwall Council.

The opportunity was to engage, via the Council, a wider local authority community. Local authorities potentially have a considerable role to play in the rolling out of nature prescription activities, which are a very targeted way of realising the health and wellbeing value of nature. Commissionable services for patients and service users can be delivered using Council assets such as parks and other green spaces. This placement aimed to: 

  • ensure that the benefits to human health and wellbeing of nature-based activity are much more widely known within Cornwall Council;
  • identify and elucidate how such activity can support a range of Council policies and strategies;
  • enumerate how nature-based activity for health can best employ Council assets;
  • promulgate, though a range of outputs, our understanding of how local government in general can most effectively engage with, and benefit from, work in this area.

Placement information: 

End of placement presentation 

End of placement video (and shown below)

Starting placement presentation introducing placement ideas

Starting placement video 

End of placement video

Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature

This project is funded as part of the Human Health & Wellbeing Goal of the Valuing Nature Programme.


Principal Investigator

  • Dr A Jorgensen, University of Sheffield, Landscape Architecture


  • Professor J Henneberry - University of Sheffield, Urban Studies and Planning
  • Dr P Shackley - University of Sheffield, Health and Related Research
  • Dr M Richardson - University of Derby, College of Life & Natural Sciences
  • Dr K McEwan - University of Derby, College of Life & Natural Sciences
  • Dr N Dempsey - University of Sheffield, Landscape Architecture
  • Ms C Rishbeth - University of Sheffield, Landscape Architecture
  • Professor B Stone - University of Sheffield, Sch of English Lit, Lang and Linguistics
  • Dr S R Payne - Heriot-Watt University, Sch of the Built Environment
  • Dr R Maheswaran - University of Sheffield, Health and Related Research
  • Dr R W F Cameron - University of Sheffield, Landscape Architecture
  • Professor D Sheffield - University of Derby, College of Life & Natural Sciences
  • Dr K Thwaites - University of Sheffield, Landscape Architecture
  • Dr A Carusi - University of Sheffield, Infection Immunity & Cardiovasc Disease

Project Summary

There is considerable evidence that a healthy natural environment - particularly where people live - and regular access to it, can contribute positively to the health and wellbeing of the population, and that it has the most benefit on those with the highest levels of ill-health. As society looks for cost effective ways to boost mental and physical health and quality of life, it is clear that increased positive interaction between people and the natural environment could be a significant part of the UK's future health care arrangements.

However, this potential is not yet being fulfilled - in part because we do not fully understand how and why people interact with the natural environment, and which aspects of the environment, and people's experience of it, lead to positive health and wellbeing outcomes. Does the biodiversity of a place affect people's health and wellbeing? Why are some sections of society, on whom natural environments could have the greatest positive impact, less likely than average to visit natural places? What part does experience of and connection to nature play? What role does access to a high quality natural environment have in the health and wellbeing of people at particularly significant stages in their lives (when they are most vulnerable to ill-health)?

If we understood the physical, psychological and socio-economic reasons why members of black, asian and minority ethnic communities, the elderly, disadvantaged urban residents, and those from lower socio-economic groups (in particular) interact with the natural environment as they do - and how this changes through their lives - it would enable us to design and manage our urban spaces more effectively to generate health and wellbeing benefits, and to engage critically important sections of society more effectively, to great social and economic benefit.

This project will study the interaction within one large city between people, their local natural environment and their health and wellbeing. It aims to:

  1. Understand at a detailed level how the health and wellbeing of the people within different neighbourhoods relates to the quantity, quality and distribution of natural greenspaces where they live;
  2. Investigate the role that culture, upbringing, social values and norms play in this;
  3. Explore how people from different ethnic and socio-economic groups interact with greenspaces and how this affects their connectedness to nature, and mental health and wellbeing;
  4. Discover how the biodiversity value of the places that people visit affects their mental health and wellbeing;
  5. Develop a way to assess the economic implications of these insights;
  6. Develop effective ways to feed this knowledge into the policy, delivery and investment decisions of politicians, planners, designers, developers, land managers, public health commissioners and other professionals, business leaders and relevant voluntary and community organisations.

It will:

  1. Explore the relationship between urban natural environments and health and wellbeing across the whole of Sheffield - focusing especially on mental health and using more detailed datasets than those used in previous research;
  2. Explore how urban residents from diverse backgrounds (especially differentiated by age, gender, ethnicity and mental health service use) communicate their own stories and values relating to contact and connectedness with nature;
  3. Use an innovative smartphone App to record the interactions of a large population sample with Sheffield's natural environment, and its relationship to their nature connectedness and personal wellbeing;
  4. Quantify the biodiversity value of different parts of Sheffield's environment and identify the relationship between this and the nature connectedness and personal wellbeing of people experiencing them;
  5. Identify the economic, practical and policy implications of these insights, and effective ways of applying them.



Domestic gardens and self-reported health: a national population study. Paul Brindley, Anna Jorgensen & Ravi Maheswaran. International Journal of Health Geographics 2018 17:31. DOI: 10.1186/s12942-018-0148-6. EM ID: IJHG-D-18-00053R1


Placements 2017 - Colm Bowe

Developing understanding and strategies for business to engage and inform UK Food and Farming policy to ensure that Natural Capital is an integral part.

The objectives of this placement is to: i) explore business engagement with UK policy for” Food and Farming and Natural capital” ii) make recommendations to business on how best to invest resources to influence UK policy to ensure natural capital is an integral part of the UK food and farming strategy iii) facilitate the engagement of business with policy makers through a high level workshop. The placement will be based at The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) working alongside their partner agri-food business Volac, and University of Cambridge academics on their Investing in Nature Programme. This placement will allow the candidate, a natural scientist who has experience sustainable agriculture and valuing natural capital with business, to better develop political science techniques and an understanding of policy mechanisms, particularly around food and farming and natural capital. The placement will involve mapping and engagement of policy stakeholders, discourse analysis and interviews with key players. This will result in the following outputs which may influence business and policy: a policy brief, business recommendations and guide to policy engagement, a high level workshop and an academic report and journal paper on the political landscape of Natural Capital and Food and Farming.

Introduction to Placement - presentation

Output - The inescapable truth: Brexit, business and natural capital


Valuing Nature Annual Conference 2017 - Presentations & Activities

Day 1 - Wednesday 18 October

Welcome and and Update from the Valuing Nature Programme  Video
Professor Rosie Hails, Head of Valuing Nature Programme Coordination Team, CEH

Keynote: Valuing Nature and the Sustainable Development Goals  Video

Dame Professor Georgina Mace, University College London

Deep Dive Sessions
Session A:   Health & Wellbeing: Nature and health: What do we know, what do we need to know, and how do we get there?

Session B:   Tipping Points: Understanding values for ecosystem stocks and tipping points

Day 2 - Thursday 19 October

Interactive Sessions 
Session C:   Demystifying Health - Contribute to the Valuing Nature Demystifying Health publication

Session D:   Economic valuation in practice - Share practical experiences of economic valuation

Session E:   Communication / co-production - Moving from communications to co-production – what works when working with mixed stakeholder groups?

Session F:   Adaptation to climate change - Adaptation to climate change: language, metrics, people

Session G:   Business challenges - Valuing nature and business – what am I really thinking?

Presentation Sessions 
Session H:   Health & Wellbeing - Understanding the role of the environment across our diverse society

Session I:    Arts - Exploring arts-based engagements with valuing nature

Session J:    Valuation - Interdisciplinary and applied valuation: with a focus on the natural sciences

Session K:   Landscape - Shaping future decisions for people and nature

Session L:   Urbanscape - Natural capital accounts and local applications

Session M:  Seascape - Valuation and participatory approaches to marine planning

Posters  Valuing Nature Projects   Valuing Nature Placements   Valuing Nature Network

Activities: Experience, play, contribute

Twitter Moments    #ValNat17


Valuing Nature Conference 2017

Placements 2017/2018 - Barnaby Andrews

Managing the marine natural capital by assessing the impact of fisheries management on expenditure by sea anglers.

Home: School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

Host: Centre for environment, fisheries & aquaculture science (Cefas)

Project Summary

This placement sought to explore the impacts that changes in recreational fisheries management can have on the economic benefits generated by these activities. While recreational sea angling is an extremely popular activity in the UK, generating a wide range of benefits to individuals and society there is an increasing need to monitor and regulate recreational catches in order to protect vulnerable stocks and ensure the sustainable management of both recreational and commercial fisheries.

In order to help decision makers understand how changes in management can impact the benefits generated through recreational sea angling activities a stated preference choice experiment was developed. The design of which was informed through interviews with Anglers, a literature review and discussions with fisheries experts.


To ensure that participants were presented with survey questions relevant to their angling experiences the choice task and framing questions were deployed using an online survey enabling us to dynamically adapt the survey questions to suit participants angling experiences. A small pilot was conducted using this initial survey leading to refinements of both the general survey and choice task based on the results and feedback received from the pilot.

The final survey is currently awaiting a larger pilot, insights into choice experiment and survey design gleaned from this placement will be used to inform further data collection using stated preference choice experiments in this context.

Initial Concepts presentation:                             Final presentation:                         









Session B: Deep Dive: Tipping Points

Session B: Tipping Points - Understanding values for ecosystem stocks and tipping points

This aim of this session was to consider limitations of current understanding and application and identify future needs from research and through implementation. Panel members from different disciplines and sectors set the scene and raise questions and challenges. 

Chair: Louise Heathwaite, Lancaster University

How do we define and detect tipping points and how frequent are they? 
Rosie Hails, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

  • Charles Godfray, University of Oxford
  • Julian Harlow, Defra
  • Jasper Kenter, Scottish Association for Marine Science
  • Bruce Wilson, Scottish Wildlife Trust

Summary Points

It’s complicated – the asset-benefit relationship is not a simple X,Y graph (which is a good comms tool) but a chain of evidence.

Future: need to develop chains that combine environmental with social and political processes as the trigger of an abrupt change may emanate from any of these spheres.

Early Warning Indicators need to continue development but the precautionary approach may be the best current option.

Valuing Nature Business Impact School November 2017

Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

The third Valuing Nature Business Impact School (BIS3) was held in Edinburgh from Wednesday 29 November to Saturday 2 December 2017.

NERC provided funding for 19 early stage researchers to attend the Valuing Nature Business Impact School in Edinburgh in November 2017 held at Dynamic Earth. The school ran back-to-back with the World Forum on Natural Capital and gave researchers the opportunity to gain insight into producing research with business impact.

Background information    Programme 

All VNBIS 3 participants attended the Natural Capital Coalition’s Day of Collaboration, as the BIS3 ‘field day’. This Day of Collaboration brought together Coalition participants to share experiences and develop new ideas for collaboration. It enabled participants to take part in devising the next steps in the future of natural capital thinking.

Five of the Valuing Nature Business School delegates were awarded scholarships to attend the 2-day World Forum on Natural Capital 


Presentations on Valuing Nature Business Impact School (BIS3)  are available here:

Business speakers

Early career researchers