In the latest round of funding awards, national agency NatureScot has approved projects aiming to expand forests, restore habitats, protect threatened species and improve our resilience to climate change as part of a national drive to transform nature in Scotland. It is focused on supporting large-scale projects with grants in excess of £250,000, including multi-year projects that run up to 2026.
For the first time, it also includes development funding to help big restoration projects plan and research their project before groundworks begin, addressing a key capacity gap in the sector.
The Southesk Catchment Partnership’s grant will help to fund its scheme ‘Restoring the River South Esk: A Nature Rich and Climate Resilient Catchment’.
The Scottish Government’s £65 million fund also supports projects that help to improve the health and well-being of local communities. These projects take practical steps to help against the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and restore Scotland’s natural environment.
Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said: "Scotland’s nature is so important to all of us - our woodlands, peatlands, rivers and lochs are central to our cultural heritage and identity. But this complex diversity and abundance of life is also central to our survival as a species. Our economy, jobs, health and well-being depend on it. Nature-based solutions – restoring our peatlands and native forests for example - are also key to our success in tackling the climate crisis.”
Mike Cantlay, NatureScot chairman, said: “Large-scale nature restoration projects are vital to help us tackle the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. If we are to have any chance of saving nature, then we must do everything we can to halt its decline now.”
The fund is also accepting expressions of interest for smaller projects seeking funding from £25,000 to £250,000 under its ‘Helping Nature’ funding stream. Projects have until noon on March 6 to submit an expression of interest to NRF@nature.scot. More information is on NatureScot’s website.
The Nature Restoration Fund supports ambitious action to put Scotland’s land and seas, and all the wild species that inhabit them, back on the road to recovery. It is projects like the ones we are funding today that will make a real and positive difference.
Mr Cantlay aded: “We’re particularly pleased to award so many large-scale projects with the development funding they need to put their restoration plans into action and we’re excited to see how these projects progress. With the Nature Restoration Fund, we are helping Scotland halt biodiversity loss by 2030 and reverse it by 2045.”
Since its launch in July 2021, the Nature Restoration Fund has awarded around £17 million to 127 projects across Scotland through its Helping Nature and Transforming Nature funding streams.