Business & Natural Environment

The natural environment underpins the economy and can be harnessed to support economic growth and the profitability of business.

Economic development

The quality of Kent’s natural environment, its coast and countryside, is a huge asset for attracting business and tourism.  A healthy natural environment influences choice on where business locates, where people wish to live and where people visit. The natural environment provides the foundation for green businesses and is essential for building a green economy.
‘Green infrastructure’, networks of green spaces in urban areas, supports inward investment and quality of life, provides visually attractive environments, and helps sustainable water management and adaptation to a changing climate.  It is particularly valuable to build green infrastructure into regeneration and growth areas.

Business opportunity

Businesses can gain by demonstrating that they are looking after the environment.  Ensuring sustainability of the supply chain, conserving nature, and managing energy, water consumption and waste will benefit the environment and reduce costs. There are many opportunities for business to market green products and services.

Taking account of the natural environment within environmental management systems and reporting can be attractive to investors and insurers.  In development proposals it can help to meet planning requirements.

 The value of nature

  • Tourists say the countryside and landscape are the main reasons they come to Kent, bringing £2.5bn annually to the Kent economy.
  • Surveys have shown that proximity to open space can enhance the value of commercial property by 3% and housing by 18%.
  • A green roof on a store in Manchester achieved a 25% reduction in fuel bills and 10% cuts in water rates.
  • In 2008 ‘Gross Value Added’ of the industries dependent on natural raw materials was about 10% of the total UK economy
  • The environmental goods and services sector in the UK recorded sales of £112bn in 2008/09.
  • 35% of businesses relocating in the south west quote an attractive environment as a key reason for their move.
  • A community woodland on former colliery site in the north west is estimated to have enhanced property values by £15m.