New Toolkit to help LEPs harness ‘natural growth’

The Environment Agency, Natural England and the Forestry Commission joined forces with several local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), councils and environment groups to create a new toolkit which encourages economic planners to harness the power of nature to boost local growth.

The Local Environment and Economic Development (LEED) Toolkit is designed to help LEPs and LAs meet their economic growth targets by fully realising the roles the environment can play. The Toolkit offers an easy-to-use, technically robust, systematic and proportionate way of making sense of environmental information in relation to economic planning.

The economy is critically dependent on the environment, but this relationship is often not given sufficient recognition in economic planning.

The aim of the toolkit is to systematically consider the evidence relating to the local economy/environment relationship in order to reveal opportunities and threats and to consider appropriate responses to them.

The toolkit produces accessible, non-technical outputs that assist strategic economic decision making.

Does it work?

The LEED Toolkit has been piloted by the New Anglia LEP. They found that it both highlighted important strategic operational factors which required co-operation between local bodies, and helped build good working relationships.

New Anglia recommends the use of the toolkit to other Local Enterprise Partnerships and their partners. The final report from the New Anglia pilot will be made available in due course.

The toolkit has a bespoke structure that can be tailored to fit the need and resources available.

For more information about the LEED Toolkit, visit the Natural England website. For further information or to discuss the possibility of running the LEED Toolkit in your area, speak to Tom Butterworth, Natural England’s Senior Advisor for Local Government on 07500 608 458 or by email at