Considering that one of the main objectives of COST Action TU1206 Sub-Urban is to highlight the importance of introducing geological maps and subsurface information in urban planning activities, it is imperative that those operating at the planning level (decision makers, planners, developers, contactors, etc.) understand this importance, and the influence that geology has in planning, and the cost-benefits on using subsurface data more effectively in the planning process is evaluated.

To determine the value of geological information, a cost benefit analysis (CBA) can be performed. The value, or net benefit of subsurface information (SI) is equal to the benefit of using subsurface information minus the cost to obtain, collect, and use this information: 𝑉(𝐺𝐼)=𝑁𝐵(𝑆𝐼)=𝐵(𝑆𝐼)−𝐶(𝑆𝐼).

With 𝑉(𝑆𝐼) representing the value (or net benefit) of geological information, 𝐵(𝑆𝐼) the benefit of using geological information and 𝐶(𝑆𝐼) the cost of geological information. The purpose of this STSM was to trial the application of a cost-benefit analysis of subsurface data to Glasgow.

To value the benefit of geological data to reduce risks and uncertainties in development work, it is necessary to know the risks and associated costs of large projects that affected by taking into account geological information, and the risks and associated costs of these projects without taking into account geological information. The difference between these two costs can be considered as the benefit of using geological information. The costs of using geological information include the costs to obtain, collect, manage, consult, and use subsurface information. To determine who is willing to pay for subsurface information, it is necessary to know who is responsible at the different stages of the planning process for different actions, within the Action Programme of a site, and where the risk resides, if an unexpected and unwanted event occurs.

Analogously, a cost benefit analysis can be made to value the functions of the subsurface by comparing the cost and benefits of having and not having the subsurface to deliver that function.

This STSM has developed a methodological framework to assess the economic value of subsurface information. There is a clear immediate benefit of the STSM outputs to Working Group 2 subgroup reviewing and identifying best practice in Urban Planning and management across Europe. The evaluations and outputs of the STSM are highly relevant to COST Action TU1206 Sub-Urban as a whole.

Download the full STSM report in pdf format.