Putting the river back at the heart of Stirling life

With news that Stirling would be awarded a City Region Deal, Stirling City Council approached the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital to ask for help in bringing to light the normally hidden financial returns which come from investing in green infrastructure. The report we produced is an analysis of two proposals outlined in the Stirling City Deal Masterplan: a River Project aiming to put the river back at the heart of Stirling life, and a new city park.

We hope that this analysis will be valuable for other cities too as City deals and City Region Deals are a major opportunity to look at investment decisions through a new lens, bringing greater social, environmental and economic benefits over the longer term.

Setting the baseline

To carry out the analysis, a baseline was first created by mapping current natural capital assets across the city. The capacity of the natural environment to deliver a number of different services was then modelled and mapped at high resolution. Finally, a monetary value was estimated for each of these services.

The analysis was repeated to show how these values would change after the proposed investments. The values were then incorporated into a full economic appraisal.

Calculating monetary flows of ecosystem services

Assessments were made by Natural Capital Solutions Ltd and Morris Resource Economics, drawing on their experience and expertise. Annual monetary flows of ecosystem services were calculated based on the latest valuation techniques available in the scientific literature and those approaches adopted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Defra. The report was project managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust with funding from Stirling Council. This report was intended to contribute to the discussion relating to a planned £600 million Stirling City Deal, before the final decision of £90 million was awarded. The report and comments were discussed in the Steering Group of the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital, but should not be taken as representing the views of, or endorsement by, individual Scottish Forum members.

The overview report can be viewed below, and a version of the full report is available to download the Alive with Nature Report here.