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Counting what matters – what do we really mean by ‘best-value’ solutions?

About this event

In response to the global climate and biodiversity crises, Ofwat has stipulated that a catchment and nature-based solutions (NbS) approach should be used and evaluated through a total value framework to derive ‘best-value’ rather than lowest-cost solutions. The hope is that this will result in more NbS as preferred options. Whilst this is a great first step, the body of evidence as to NbS’ cost and reliability is patchy. There is also a perception that NbS are a cheaper alternative to ‘grey’ infrastructure, yet at present they can be more expensive to implement, operate and maintain than traditional solutions.

To tip the scales towards NbS, we need to properly account for their wider benefits and, in some cases, the unintended consequences of grey infrastructure.

This Sustainability Delivery Group Expert Talk, part of 'The OneWater Approach series' held in partnership with Jacobs, will explore the positives and negatives of the current ways of assessing ‘total value’, and where we need to get better evidence to provide a more robust analysis.

Presenters:

Valerie Robertson, Sector Lead for Environmental Economics, Jacobs

Valerie is the sector lead for Environmental Economics and part of the strategic business case and economics team at Jacobs. Valerie specialises in valuing environmental and social costs and benefits to incorporate into economic appraisal and would describe her remit as improving decision making for optimal societal benefit. Valerie has over 15 years’ experience working across sectors including water & utilities, waste & resource management, transportation and the built environment. With a background in climate science, Valerie is passionate about shaping and directing investment towards solutions to address the dual climate and biodiversity crises as well as achieving more equitable outcomes.

Alex Lane, Associate Director- Water Strategy, Jacobs

Alex is an Associate Director at Jacobs based in the UK focused on developing and delivering water strategy for a range of clients. His projects involve business planning and asset management for water companies, long term adaptive planning across the water sector and flood risk strategy. Alex has 15 years’ experience in this field and has previously worked in Australia and India for private and public clients. His projects are increasingly directed towards decision making for the long term, under multiple sources of uncertainty, to deliver best value for customers and wider society.

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