Natural Capital in the real world


3Keel worked in partnership with the Woodland Trust to pilot a novel Payment for Ecosystem Services business model, as part of a wider development programme, funded by Defra.

The project is based at the Smithills Estate, on the edge of Bolton, in Greater Manchester. 3Keel worked closely with the Woodland Trust to develop a very applied and in some respects radical approach to PES. This involves the establishment of a ‘Natural Enterprise Zone’ in the landscape. This is made up of a cluster of small private and social enterprises, which mobilise and invest in the Estate’s natural resources and assets for the benefit of local communities. The Zone will controlled and moderated by a new ‘Enterprise Catalyst’; a social enterprise which shares control between local stakeholders and the Woodland Trust.

3Keel has played a core role in concept development, land capability and enterprise assessment, technical write-up, and in consultation with local businesses and NGO’s. Beyond the initial Defra funded pilot phase, 3Keel continues to provide consultancy support to the project, as it moves to implementation.

Project lead

Tom Curtis

It was great to work with 3Keel on this project. They understood the Woodland Trust’s strategic aims, and worked hand in glove with us to drive forward a visionary but practical approach to managing one of our most exciting asset acquisitions for years.

Nick Atkinson, Senior Advisor, Woodland Trust


Final project report for Defra