In 2012 the Westcountry Rivers Trust won funding to deliver over £4 million of restoration work over three years on river catchments across the South West and a recent independent economic evaluation has shown that for each £1 invested, between £1.9 and £4.5 has been generated, depending on the project location. These Catchment Restoration Fund (CRF) projects have been delivered on the rivers of the South Hams, the Axe and Exe, the Dart and Teign, the Rivers of South Cornwall and the Taw.

The projects have now finished and have been a great success, both ecologically and economically. We recently commissioned NEF Consulting Ltd to undertake a cost-benefit evaluation of the CRF projects. This research used extended Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) in order to estimate the socio-economic and environmental returns generated by respective projects. For this purpose, this research estimated:

– The potential environmental (ecological) impacts of respective projects

– The potential societal benefits supported by those ecological impacts

– The value of those benefits, expressed in monetary terms

– The Benefit-Cost ratios, i.e. the comparison between the investments put in the projects and the wider benefits generated.

This independent research shows that by improving the water quality and ecological conditions in our catchments there are substantial social benefits generated as well as support for a variety of Ecosystem Services.

The Net Present Value (representing the total benefits, net of costs) is positive for all projects, showing that investing in river improvement projects is economically efficient and effective for everyone.

Read the full report here ….. WRT_FINAL REPORT