Watchdog launches calculator for natural capital assessment of waterway pollution

The Environment Agency has provided a publicly available means to estimate the natural capital impact of a pollution incident on England's waterways.

This natural capital calculator is based on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, that enables users toestimates the value the public holds for improvements to rivers, lakes and other waterbodies such as reservoirs, canals.

Waterway polluters will be able to use the calculator to estimate the cost of the public’s losses after a pollution incident to English waterways to make an enforcement undertaking payment to the Environment Agency.

The results, given to the nearest £1,000, provide a basis for discussions with the Agency.

The calculator’s findings are based on the period during which the pollution reduces the quality of the environment including the loss felt by the general public. The calculator does not include losses to businesses or organisations or enable the estimation of clean up and restoration costs.The calculator does not include losses to businesses or make it possible to estimate clean up and restoration costs.

In its guidance the Environment Agency said loss to society can be measured by a pollution incident’s severity, scale, duration and location. The ecological status of the waterbody before and after the event – defined under the Water Framework Directive – will determine the severity of the incident.