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Highland Council Invites Applications For New Nature Restoration Fund

11th November 2021

The Highland Council is inviting communities to apply for a share of a new fund to support nature restoration projects.

The Nature Restoration Fund (NRF) is a new capital fund, established by the Scottish Government, designed to help support projects that will deliver nature restoration, safeguard wildlife, and tackle the causes of biodiversity loss due to climate change.

The Highland Council has been allocated £200,000 towards capital projects that meet the fund's criteria.

To be eligible projects must

deliver positive effects for biodiversity and enhance local ecosystems;
and/or

address the climate emergency and its impacts through mitigation and adaptation and by promoting nature-based solutions
It would also be desirable for projects to promote the health and well-being of local communities and reduce inequalities.

All projects should be ready to start before the end of March 2022 and be completed by the end of June 2022.

The minimum grant support available is £2,500 and the maximum is £20,000.

Chair of the Council's Environment and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Trish Robertson said: "The purpose of the Nature Restoration Fund is to support positive actions that can help nature recover. The events I recently participated in at COP26 put the measures that are needed to give our natural environment the best chance to recover as their number one priority. These can include straight forward actions such as planting more trees and setting aside space to plant flowers for pollinating insects as well as more ambitious and creative projects that aim to help restore the balance.

"I imagine there will be a high demand across our communities for this capital funding support so I encourage all eligible groups to submit their expression of interest before the deadline of Friday 26th November."

Examples of the types of projects the Nature Restoration Fund will support include:

Wee Forests (purchase and planting of trees)
Rain gardens (construction and materials plus planting)
Improving Greenspace for Outdoor Learning (purchase and planting, equipment for outdoor learning, small access improvements)
Action for pollinators (equipment for maintaining wildflower areas/verges plus planting)
Urban woodlands - Climate forests (purchase and planting)
Planting of wildlife corridors, removal of barriers to movement, pollinator planting
Natural flood management actions such as connecting rivers with flood plains, pond creation, de-culverting, in-stream works for habitat and flow variability
Habitat and species enhancement works
Applications are welcomed from constituted community groups; local authorities or other public sector bodies; charities; voluntary and social enterprises; co-operatives and community ownership initiative; development trusts.

This is a competitive process so the Council is highlighting that projects with secured match funding or in-kind contributions are likely to score higher during assessment.

The Council is operating a two-stage process to apply for Nature Restoration funding. An expression of interest giving outline information on key facts and figures about your project should be submitted no later than 12pm Friday 26 November 2021.

All entries who pass the initial gateway assessment will then be invited to submit a full application including supporting documentation no later than 12pm Friday 14 January 2022.

For full information and further guidance please visit -www.highland.gov.uk/naturerestorationfund

The newly established Scottish Government fund with a total allocation of £10 million, is additional support to help fund projects that will deliver nature restoration, safeguard wildlife, and tackle the causes of biodiversity loss due to climate change.

£5 million of the Nature Restoration Fund has been allocated to include a competitive small project fund of £1 million to be distributed by NatureScot (with the remaining £4 million going directly to establish nature restoration projects across Scotland) and the remaining £5 million has been allocated to Local Authorities. Of this, The Highland Council has been allocated £200,000 towards capital projects that meets the fund’s criteria.​

 

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