Defra Announces £10 Million Fund to Drive Private Sector Investment in Nature. The recognition that there is a desperate need to invest in nature, biodiversity and the benefits it provides, not only to the natural world but also those people that are surrounded by it, has just got a boost.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency have launched a new £10 million fund to support environmental groups, local authorities, businesses and other organisations to develop nature projects in England to a point where they can attract private investment.
Nature projects which tackle climate change, create and restore habitats, or improve water quality could soon benefit from a new £10 million fund to help them both benefit the environment and attract private sector investment, the Government has announced on 10th February 2021.
The Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund 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.
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 2021.
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.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:
Our 25 Year Environment Plan made clear that while the public sector will continue to be a central source of funding, it is critical that this is alongside more private sector investment to protect and enhance our natural environment.
Investors are rightly recognising environmental factors as key drivers of value. As we look to build back greener from the pandemic, I would encourage any interested businesses, local authorities, eNGOs or other organisations to bid for a portion of this fund.
The Fund has been designed by Defra and Environment Agency, working with HMT, Natural England and the Access Foundation for Social Investment.