£25m fund launched to boost nature recovery

In need of support for your nature recovery project? We break down how members in England can benefit from the latest government grant for nature

Defra recently announced the £25m Species Survival Fund. A programme designed to reverse habitat loss and restore nature-rich landscapes in England.

The fund is being administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will be of interest to landowners and other enterprises. In particular for those who have planned nature recovery projects that can be completed in two years and are in need of capital and revenue funding to make it happen.

Who is this new scheme aimed at?

Applications can be from individuals, such as farmers and landowners, and associations such as not-for-profit organisations, local authorities, and National Park authorities based in England. Partnerships that may lead to a more joined-up approach for nature recovery between organisations and individuals are also encouraged.

What kind of projects will this fund support?

Priority will be given to projects that provide greater connectivity, higher quality, and larger areas of wildlife-rich habitats. A variety of habitats will be in for consideration, including terrestrial, riparian, estuarine, or coastal environments.

Projects should focus on habitat creation and restoration which will lead to increased species abundance. There is no need to focus solely on priority species or those listed in the Species Abundance Indicator, instead projects should support a wide range of flora and fauna. They should reflect local biodiversity priorities such as those which will be identified through Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS).

If applying, you should have a plan for how the positive impacts of the project will be sustained post-delivery. Also for consideration is how a changing climate could impact the ecological outcomes of the project in the longer-term.

What can the funding be spent on?

The funding can be used for capital and/or revenue costs. Capital costs can cover a wide range of project outlays, such as materials (fencing, trees, plants, etc), equipment, and contractor and consultant fees.

Revenue costs can cover needs such as recruitment, salaries, monitoring and evaluation. Applicants will need to specify in their submissions what kind of costs and activities the funding would be used for.

How much funding will successful projects receive?

Through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, candidates can apply for grants ranging from £250k up to £3m. Worth noting is that priority will be given to projects that can attract at least 5% of funding from non-governmental sources such as private investment.

What happens if I am successful?

If successful, the individual, group, or organisation will receive a letter confirming the application and the funding award for the project. The development must then be started immediately after funding is awarded.

Successful applicants will receive quarterly payments. These funds will be dependent on a progress report and the final 10% will be paid upon completion of the project which must be completed within two years. The final reporting must be completed by 26 February 2026.

What is the application window?

The deadline for expressions of interest is 24 July before the final application deadline which is 26 October 2023.

For further application details, read the government announcement or, visit the National Heritage Lottery Fund website to apply.