A tree planting project in Liverpool and a plan to restore peatlands at the Great Fen in Cambridgeshire are among 50 initiatives sharing in government grants announced today with an eye on unlocking further private investment into nature restoration and climate action across England.
Individual grants of up to £100,000 have been awarded to environmental groups, local authorities, businesses and other organizations through the second round of the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF).
Led by Defra and the Environment Agency, the fund aims to both support nature projects, while also developing them to the point where they can hopefully attract additional private investment, explained Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency and interim chair of the Green Finance Institute.
“The finance community is aware that investors want to understand how their savings deliver good outcomes on the ground,” she said. “What we learn from these projects will help the private sector invest in activities that deliver both environmental improvements and generate returns.
“By showing what works we can attract a wider pool of investors to fund work on a much larger scale that helps protect people from climate impacts and restores nature. Given the current acceleration of climate risks to the global economy, we need this to happen at pace.”
Other projects set to receive funding include a potential new natural surface water drainage scheme in Plymouth designed to unlock development by reducing flood risk and improving water management and climate resilience, with a view to also attracting further investment from beneficiaries such as water companies and developers. A project to develop a pilot seagrass carbon code to attract investment in seagrass beds as a profitable carbon sink and biodiversity-rich habitat has also received a share of the funding, Defra said.
“Given the scale of the environmental challenges we face, including climate change and biodiversity loss, it is crucial all parts of society play a part and we attract finance from diverse sources to help support this work,” said Lord Benyon, Minister for Green Finance. . “The government’s 25 Year Environment Plan was clear that while the public sector will continue to be an important source of funding, it is critical that there is more private sector investment to protect and enhance our domestic natural environment.”