Biodiversity funding of up to £25,000 available for Sutherland projects as Highland Council deadline for Nature Restoration Fund (NRF) extended

The board has extended its deadline for submitting nominations. Photo: Highland Council

Highland Council has extended the deadline for applicants to apply for a share of the Nature Restoration Funding 2022/23 allocation.

The new deadline is September 9.

Created by the Scottish Government, the Nature Restoration Fund (NRF) is an investment fund designed to help support projects that will restore nature, protect wildlife and tackle the causes of loss. of biodiversity due to climate change.

Environment and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Cllr Ken Gowans said: “Eligible Highland applicants can apply for up to £25,000 for nature restoration projects. Last year, 27 community groups and organizations successfully secured funding to carry out projects ranging from the creation of wildflower meadows and tree planting initiatives, to the creation of wetlands and the elimination of invasive non-native species”.

He added “we have extended the deadline to September 9 to ensure that as many applicants as possible submit their project ideas. The expression of interest stage is just a two-page document that asks for a brief description of the project and an outline of the costs for which funding is to be requested.

This year, the focus is more on results that address the main drivers of decline in terrestrial and marine biodiversity, particularly rural biodiversity. For example, where on earth, the overuse of the natural environment and the management of its consequences, habitat loss and fragmentation, and the removal of invasive non-native species. To achieve this objective, the fund has four strategic themes:

  • Habitat restoration – management for improvement and connectivity
  • Freshwater restoration, including hydrological changes
  • Eradication of invasive non-native species impacting nature
  • Coastal and Marine Management to Foster Restoration and Resilience

Capital funding allocated to local authorities aims to support new approaches or strengthen existing approaches that promote biodiversity and meet the following criteria:

  • produce positive effects for biodiversity and improve local ecosystems
  • address the climate emergency and its impacts through mitigation and adaptation and by promoting nature-based solutions
  • Investment items that could form this expenditure basis may include, but are not limited to:
  • Action for pollinators (equipment for the maintenance of flowery areas or verges including planting)
  • Improving the condition and use of Local Nature Reserves (purchase and planting)
  • Develop a local natural network by planting wildlife corridors, removing barriers to wildlife movement, and planting pollinators
  • Greening of active travel routes (purchase and planting)
  • Natural flood management actions such as connecting rivers to floodplains, creating ponds, unclogging, in-stream works for habitat and flow variability
  • Removal of invasive non-native species (INNS) to improve biodiversity value of remaining habitat
  • Habitat and species enhancement works using native stock, enhancing natural coastal defenses through marram grass, addressing coastal pressure.

All projects must be ready to start by the end of March 2023 and be completed by the end of June 2023. The NRF can only fund capital expenditures that directly improve biodiversity. Revenue costs such as project management are not eligible, but labor costs to undertake the approved works will be accepted.

The minimum grant available is £2,000 and the maximum grant is £25,000.

Applications are welcome from established community groups; public sector bodies; charities; voluntary and social enterprises; cooperatives and community ownership initiatives; development trusts.

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