Environmental Benefit Assessment
The project reviewed the Environment Agency's benefit assessment guidance (BAG) to determine whether it is appropriate to apply to the Water Framework Directive (WFD). BAG is based on a small number of willingness-to-pay studies (used to estimate benefits at other sites), on distance decay functions (used to estimnate popiulations of relevance and values at different distances), and on a 'bottom-up' approach. These factors produce inaccurate and unreliable estimates, over-state the benefits and render BAG unsuitable for application to the WFD. Other methods such as cost-effectiveness analysis; effect on production or opportunity cost; and stated preference choice experiments, offer more promise.
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