Ecosystems and Green Infrastructure

The United Kingdom's natural ecosystems and landscape, many of them shaped by intensive land uses, past industrial activities and population pressures can provide a wide variety of benefits such as food, timber, fuel, recreation, biodiversity, climate, water and air regulation and supporting functions.  These so called ‘ecosystem services’ underpin all other aspects of our economic and social wellbeing.  URSUS helps clients to understand their economic, social and environmental value, take them into account in decision making and conserve and enhance them for the benefit of all.

What we do:

URSUS helps clients in:

  • Valuing Ecosystems Services: economic valuation of the wider benefits of ecosystems and greenspace including provisioning, cultural, regulating and supporting functions using a range of environmental economics techniques.
  • Enhancing green and blue infrastructure: finding ways to improve existing areas or develop new parks, green corridors and sustainable urban drainage (SUDS) as a setting for new development or to remediate past development.   We have a long term partnership with the Land Trust to help bring greenspace under sustainable management for multiple benefits. 
  • Planning policies for green infrastructure: Support to Local Authorities and partners such as the Environment Agency on how planning policies and development management can support the development of multi-functional green space.
  • Paying for Ecosystem Services (PES) Schemes: helping partners develop financially sustainable schemes by advising on costs, funding and delivery models for green infrastructure including green space management trusts funded through endowments, Community Infrastructure Levy, 'roof taxes', revenue generating activities and other innovative financing models.
  • Ecofootprinting: using models such as the Stockholm Environment Institute’s REAP model to assess the global ecological impact of policies and consumption decisions made at the local level.
  • Landscape Design: through associates Shiels Flynn Landscape Designers we are able to provide landscape design services for new and existing greenspace.
  • Sharing best practice: we are active members of the Ecosystems Knowledge Network.

Case studies:

  • Paying for Ecosystem Services pilot scheme in Hull.  We are currently working on a Defra pilot scheme to enable those susceptible to flooding in north Hull to develop a mechanism for paying those that manage greenspace for flood alleviation on their behalf.
  • Valuing Ecosystem Services in the East of England – Arable Land Pilot.  This pilot study, conducted in 2011, evaluated some 14 ecosystems service types provided by four representative arable farms in the East of England.  Participative workshops explored what local people around each farm most value about the landscapes around them and developed tools to help them identify their preferred balance of ecosystem services on local farms in the future.  This was part of the wider Valuing Ecosystem Services in the East of England project and is being taken forward as a simple ESs toolkit for farmers.  Click here for full report.
  • Birmingham Watercourses, on behalf of the Environment Agency, Birmingham City Council and partners - a study to identify watercourse improvements and funding options that would generate environmental, flood alleviation, economic regeneration and social benefits. 
  • Business Planning for greenspace management:  Over a number of years we have worked with organisations such as the Land Trust, Groundwork and Local Authorities to develop sustainable models for long term management of multi-purpose greenspace.  This has included market research, stakeholder consultation and preparation of business plans for local trusts or enterprises.   Most recently we have prepared business plans for Trusts in Ashford, Ely, Hull, Scarborough, Newcastle and the North West.  
  • Local Authorities, the Water Framework Directive and Environmental Infrastructure: Identification of Local Authority support needs to help them contribute to the Water Framework Directive, improvements in water quality, water resources, reduced diffuse pollution and environmental infrastructure – on behalf of the Environment Agency and Sustainability West Midlands. 
  • Tackling Urban Diffuse Pollution: Identification of good practice approaches for tackling urban diffuse pollution and preparation of a toolkit to assist in developing projects which address urban diffuse pollution, on behalf of the Environment Agency.
  • Review of Climate Change Leadership, Academy for Sustainable Communities. Primary research and developing web based case studies of cutting-edge sustainable construction and low carbon approaches such as Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems approaches at Upton Sustainable Urban Extension and Sherwood Energy Village.


Anna MacGillivray
Tel. 07989 554 504
Stephen Owen
Tel. 07720 416 356


URSUS Consulting Ltd. Registered in England & Wales, company registration number: 5326647, VAT 866 4105 18. Quality BS EN ISO 9001:2008 – Certificate number GB2002687