Applications open for Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund

Photo by Binyamin Mellish:

Organisations seeking investment for nature projects to tackle climate change, create and restore habitats, or improve water quality are being urged to apply for the second and final round of the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund.

The fund of up to £10 million will provide grants of up to £100,000 to environmental groups, local authorities, businesses and other organisations to help them develop nature projects in England to a point where they can attract private investment.

Funding will be invested in a broad range of projects that will deliver environmental benefits while also demonstrating a wide range of innovative approaches to generating revenues from the wide range of benefits that nature provides.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency and interim Chair of the Green Finance Institute, commented on the Fund: “The climate and nature emergencies are entwined, protecting and enhancing the domestic natural environment will help protect investments from climate disruption and deliver steady long-term returns.

“The Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund is already showing how different revenue models stimulate investment.

“We need major investors to recreate these at pace and on a much larger scale. COP26 has focused attention on preparing for climate shocks using nature-based solutions. Alongside public sector investment, the private sector must be encouraged and supported to find the opportunity in protecting nature and managing climate change.”

Projects will be designed to provide a return on investment by capturing the value of the carbon, water quality, biodiversity and other benefits provided by natural assets such as woodlands, peatlands, catchments and landscapes. This will create a pipeline of projects for the private sector to invest in.

Among the 29 schemes benefitting from the first round of funding are projects to restore kelp forests, create new woodland, deliver natural flood risk management, and improve water quality. They include:

  • Crystal Clear Clyst Bond, an East Devon District Council scheme seeking to convert farmland to woodland in an area experiencing a growth in development, via an Environmental Impact Bond;
  • Swinton Estate in North Yorkshire, working to develop a new business model for multi-functional forestry to realise wider benefits from carbon sequestration, biodiversity credits, recreation, and water quality
  • Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s scheme to raise investment to restore peatland through the Greater Manchester Environment Fund by modelling revenues from the sale of carbon and biodiversity credits through woodland creation and increasing biodiversity; and
  • Surrey Wildlife Trust’s scheme to establish a natural capital investment company to model biodiversity net gain at scale in support of development growth in the southern England.

Applications for the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund are open until 3rd of February 2022.

More information about the Fund and how to apply is available on the UK Government website.