Note: This is a continuation of project WY0101.
This study will estimate the social, economic and environmental benefits of inland waterways in England and Wales and will produce a valuation framework to assess the extent to which these benefits can be accurately determined at different sites and scales, and for different beneficiaries.
Inland Waterways are defined in this context to include the navigable tidal and non-tidal inland waterways of England and Wales. These provide a number of economic benefits, some of which are reasonably straightforward to value, such as the transportation of water borne freight. Other economic contributions may be more difficult to quantify but are no less significant, such as supporting the tourism industry by providing recreation opportunities.
The provision of wider benefits by Inland Waterways has increased dramatically since the 1940s thanks to efforts by Defra and other organisations such as the Inland Waterways Association. Once considered derelict ditches of little to no value, inland waterways now make significant contributions to the urban and rural landscapes of England and Wales, and provide valuable leisure opportunities such as angling, walking and boating. Additional welfare benefits arise from urban and rural regeneration, health protection and protection of the natural and built environment. Other significant non-welfare benefits such as social inclusion and cultural heritage preservation are also touted as important reasons for preserving and restoring inland waterways.
The benefits discussed above are all use values - in other words, the benefits people derive from actual use of inland waterways. Another important aspect of the total benefits, however, is the non-use or existence value. These benefits are unrelated to use, and are based instead by the knowledge of the existence of attractive waterways and the desire to pass these benefits on to future generations..
This study therefore seeks to inform decision makers of the full economic implications of different strategies to manage inland waterways.
A key output of the project is the production of a `transfer valuation framework` which will specify values against each benefit using existing studies and assess the potential for / limits to which these values can be applied to inland waterways of different locations and scales and for different beneficiaries. This will allow the wider values of inland waterways to be brought into policy formation and project appraisal.