The NEAT Tree is an output of the Tools: Applications, Benefits and Linkages for Ecosystems (TABLES) project (2012-2014). The project was established to deliver Work Packages 9 and 10 of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-On (NEAFO) research.

The aim of the project was: to mainstream the Ecosystem Approach in policy and decision-making processes across the built and natural environment.

This was done by identifying and adapting the most influential and valued public policy tools within an Ecosystem Services Framework.

The project team used the 12 principles of the Ecosystem Approach as guidance for selecting, improving and using tools as specific stages of a policy, plan, project or programme (PPPP).

Download the full report (PDF)

Download the Key Messages (PDF)

Download a bibliography for the NEAT Tree (PDF)

To give your feedback or if you require further information, please e-mail the TABLES team.

The TABLES project involved the following stages:

1. Development of a functional typology of tools

The following types of tools were identified at the outset:

  • Ecosystem Services tools
  • Futures tools
  • Incentives tools
  • Public Engagement tools
  • Regulatory tools
  • Valuation tools

A literature review was carried out for each type of tools in order to understand the scope and contribution of the tools in more detail.

2. Critical tool reviews

Tools judged to have the highest impact in policy- and decision-making were selected by members of the research team, in collaboration with other stakeholders. Team members completed a written template to review 34 different tools and considered their location and application within a generic policy-making cycle.

The policy-making cycle has the following stages (these make up the main stages of the NEAT tree):

  • Ideas
  • Survey
  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Deliver
  • Evaluate

3. Incorporating the Ecosystem Approach into an integrated suite of nine tools

4. Bespoke guidance within the policy cycle

Bespoke guidance for using these adapted tools was developed for use within the six stages of the policy-making cycle (Ideas, Survey, Assess, Plan, Deliver, Evaluate). Key discussion prompts and questions were developed for each stage of the cycle and the most applicable tools were signposted.

5. Learning from good practice (case studies)

A range of case studies provided ‘learning from experience’ to understand what can be delivered and achieved in practice.

6. The NEAT Tree

This website provides an interactive portal for users to access the wide range of materials associated with the project.

The Research Team  
Principal Investigator:  
Alister Scott Birmingham City University
Team Members:
Jonathan Baker Collingwood Environmental Planning
Claudia Carter Birmingham City University
Ron Corstanje, Jim Harris Cranfield University
Mark Everard Pundamilla Ltd
Paul Gibbs David Jarvis Associates
Jayne Glass University of the Highlands and Islands
Mike Grace, Tim Sunderland, Ruth Waters Natural England
Michael Hardman University of Salford
Oliver Hölzinger Consultancy for Environmental Economics & Policy
Karen Leach Localise West Midlands
Richard Wakeford Rural Consultant
Sarah Buckmaster Independent Communications Consultant
Charles Cowap Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Ryan Glass Big Toe Web Design
Nick Grayson Birmingham City Council
Mike Kelly Rural Planning Associates
Tim Pagella Wales Environment Centre
Jonathan Porter Ecosystems Knowledge Network
Dave Raffaelli University of York
Mark Reed Birmingham City University
Eleanor Rowe Royal Town Planning Institute
Antony Taft Birmingham City University