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Government announces new £10m nature fund

Ministers have announced details of a new £10m fund which will help councils, businesses and other organisations develop nature projects.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund will offer grants of up to £100,000 to help groups develop nature projects in England to a point where they can attract private investment.

According to Defra, this will create a pipeline of projects for the private sector to invest in and develop new funding models that can be replicated elsewhere, demonstrating the UK’s leadership in nature finance in the run-up to COP26 in November.

The fund will be open for applications until 26 March.

Examples of projects that could be eligible for the fund:

  • the creation of new woodlands and the restoration of peatlands, providing habitats for wildlife, green spaces for the public and carbon sequestration to help the government achieve its net zero target. This will generate carbon units which can be sold to businesses that want to offset emissions.
  • the creation of new coastal wetlands,  which benefit wildlife and reduce tidal flooding, while also attracting investment from developers needing to deliver biodiversity net gain and even delivering revenue through eco-tourism.
  • the restoration of river catchments, helping to both improve water quality and reduce flood risk. As well as benefitting nature and people, these environmental benefits will deliver financial incentives to water companies (with reduced costs for water treatment) and encouraging them to invest.

‘The government are calling for a green industrial revolution at the same time that investors, including people saving for their pensions, are looking for economic returns that reverse natural decline and manage climate shocks,’ said Environment Agency chair, Emma Howard Boyd.

‘There are already examples of this happening, but the global economy needs more evidence if it is going to reach a tipping point that mobilises trillions of dollars towards nature. This fund will help, demonstrating funding models that can be replicated, providing long-term benefits for the economy and the environment, and showing UK leadership ahead of COP26.’

Photo Credit – Larisa-K (Pixabay)

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