Summary of key issues:
|Description||Socio and environmental economics concern the effects of policy, plans and development projects on human well being. The effect on human well being is considered both indirectly when assessing the effects of change on the natural system (fisheries, nature conservation and biodiversity) and more directly when considering changes to the landscape and noise and air quality.|
|Temporal applicability||Medium to long-term, decadal to century-scale.|
|Spatial applicability||Region to UK wide.|
|Links with other tools||Socio-economic modelling provides information on the cost-benefit of estuary management activities and of the modelling of estuaries.|
|Data sources||Dependent on the type of analysis.|
|Necessary software tools / skills||Knowledge of the technique to be applied e.g. environmental economics, multi-criteria decision-making; the application of scenarios, and the DPSIR framework.|
|Typical analyses||Cost benefit analysis of plan or scheme within EIA.|
Socio and environmental economics concern the effects of policy, plans and development projects of human well being. In the context on a formal Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a development project, it is considered best practice to assess changes to human well being as part of Socio-economic Impact Assessment (SIA). Although the degree to which this is covered in EIA is much debated (Morris & Therivel, 2001), it should probably be argued that the effect on human well being is considered both indirectly when assessing the effects of change on the natural system (fisheries, nature conservation and biodiversity) and more directly when considering changes to the landscape and noise and air quality.
The term ‘well being’ is frequently cited as the assessment end-point within environmental economics. Probably the most well known definition of sustainable development (SD) is that from the ‘Bruntland Commission’ (WCED, 1987) where SD is defined as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ and this can be re-presented as ‘generating human well being now without impairing the well being of future generations’ (Turner et al., 1994).
The objective of environmental economics is therefore to assist the decision making process where there are environmental choices with measurement typically considering the human welfare aspect.
The following short note provides a summary of some methods employed within environmental economics and further presents an overall framework within which the plans, projects and policy can be developed and assessed. The reader should refer to literature such as Turner et al. (1994) for a more complete reference to the subject.