Publication - Statistics

Scottish Natural Capital Accounts: 2020

This report gives estimates of the quantity and value of services supplied by Scottish natural capital covering:

Agricultural biomass

Fish capture


Water abstraction


Fossil fuel

Renewable energy

Carbon sequestration

Air pollution removal

Noise mitigation

Urban cooling


92 page PDF

1.2 MB

92 page PDF

1.2 MB

Scottish Natural Capital Accounts: 2020
1. Main points

92 page PDF

1.2 MB

1. Main points


  • This article looks at three different elements of natural capital – the value of the assets, the annual flow of services that these assets provides, and the value of these annual services.
  • Natural capital accounts are reported under three categories – provisioning services that create products such as food, water and minerals, regulating services such as air pollution removal and carbon sequestration, and cultural services such as recreational use of nature.
  • Estimates are experimental and remain under development. Experimental Statistics are published to involve customers and stakeholders in their development and as a means of building in quality at an early stage.
  • Several ecosystem services are not being measured in this article, such as flood mitigation and tourism, so the monetary accounts should be interpreted as a partial or minimum value of Scottish natural capital.

Asset valuation

  • In 2016, the partial asset value of Scottish Natural Capital was £196 billion, 20% of the UK asset valuation.
  • 37% of the asset value was attributable to non-material benefits not directly captured in gross domestic product.
  • Fossil fuels account for 46% of the asset value.
  • Carbon sequestration was the second largest, accounting for 21% of Scotland's natural asset value.

Annual monetary flows

  • We can value the benefit to society of the annual services that Scotland's natural capital assets provide. In 2016, the monetary value of the services provided by Scotland's natural capital was £3.86 billion.
  • Living near publicly accessible green and blue spaces added on average £2,393 to property prices in Scottish urban areas.
  • Because of the cooling effects of urban green spaces Edinburgh and Glasgow avoided £3.15 million in productivity losses during 2018.

Annual physical flows

  • Fossil fuel extraction has more than halved between 1998 and 2018.
  • In 2018, renewables made up the majority (55%) of Scottish electricity generation, up from 18% in 2008.
  • In 2016, nearly four-fifths of total UK waters fish capture was caught in Scottish waters.
  • Timber production in Scotland has doubled between 1997 and 2018.
  • Our model suggests the equivalent to 1,549 years of life were saved through Scottish vegetation removing air pollution in 2017.
  • In 2017, Scotland represented 39% of UK net carbon sequestration.
  • During 2017, over 1 billion hours were spent on visits for outdoor recreation in Scotland.