The City of Edinburgh is the rapidly growing capital of Scotland, approaching 500,000 inhabitants. The city exerts pressures on the surrounding area. This study looks specifically at recreation pressure in the Pentland Hills Regional Park, and impacts of rapid urban expansion in East Lothian. Both cases, ecosystem services valuation tested as approaches to support planning.
Place-based studies around peri-urban Edinburgh are working with policy makers to better understand society's socio-cultural values of green space. The exemplar aims to: Understand appreciation of ecosystem services in the Pentland Hills; Understand potential to offset urban development in East Lothian; Identify societal ecosystem services benefits in urban and peri-urban contexts; Assess the socio-cultural values of these ecosystem services; Apply, test and further develop ecosystem service valuation methods.
Strong engagement by local stakeholders aided the understanding of the case study area and research context. Furthermore the East Lothian Council was very supportive and provided several services which facilitated the research. The close collaboration with Scottish Natural Heritage in the Pentland Hills supported the interaction with the local stakeholders further.
The methods developed in this exemplar, and the lessons learned, will be valuable for other landscape scale projects.
There are many inconsistencies in valuation methods.~It is important to be explicit about trade-offs to stakeholders.~During interviews about residential development in East Lothian, people expressed a need to feel listened to: public participation is therefore not only important to gain insight into the perceptions and opinions of the public, but also to make people feel part of the decision making process.~