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Case study to develop tools and methodologies to deliver an ecosystem based approach - M6 Link - NR0110

Natural resource protection is one of five strategic priorities as defined in defra’s Five Year Strategy published in December 2004. The Sustainable Development Strategy published in March 2005 also identified natural resource protection and environmental enhancement as one of four priority areas for immediate Government action. The United Nations international work programme, the ‘Millennium Ecosystem Assessment’, not only recognised the multiple benefits that ecological systems provide but realised that policy and planning decisions must also take into account an ecosystem-based approach (EBA). The EBA provides a way in which the overall health and integrity of ecosystems can be assessed and the multiple benefits society derives from them better described and managed. The United Nations Convention on Biodiversity has produced guidelines for the implementation of the EBA.

This case study looks retrospectively at a regionally important infrastructure development – the Heysham M6 link in Lancashire for which a planning application has recently been made. The case study seeks to answer two questions.
1. How well does the procedure that has been followed for the proposed Heysham M6 link deliver the EBA?
2. To what extent can the information collected to assess the impact of the Heysham M6 link, together with other information already available, be used to successfully use the EBA?

In answering question 1 we will compare the current procedure with the EBA approach and score how well the current procedure performs against the EBA. We will identify gaps and weaknesses and make recommendations for further research.

In answering question 2 we will consider the answers to question1 and develop tools and methodologies to allow the EBA to be more effectively applied. We do not expect to be able to develop an entire toolkit and methodology within the scope of this project. A significant part of the research is to identify those issues that need further research before they can be fully integrated into the EBA.

This project will be managed by ADAS UK Ltd. We have a strong team of experts to guide the project and help in the development of tools and methodologies. They will work with a team of ADAS consultants who are experienced in the delivery of impact assessments for developers The work will link closely with concurrent Defra funded projects on the compilation of environmental and socio-economic databases (CTE0605),(CTE0608) assessments of the economic value of England’s terrestrial ecosystem services (CTE0607).

The results of this research could be used by Defra to advise Government Ministers on how the assessment of impacts for the protection of natural resources, (based on the ecosystem approach) can be developed and built into the planning process.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Case Study Heysham to M6 Link case study (Executive Summary and Outline Report)   (116k)
• Final Report - Annex : Case Study Heysham to M6 Link case study (Full Report)   (4263k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2006

To: 2007

Cost: £65,707
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Natural Environment              
Fields of Study
Ecosystems Approach