New capital grant from Natural England

CLA Senior Environment Policy Adviser, Sara Brouillette, looks at the key questions surrounding the latest update from Natural England
close-up of butterfly

Natural England is launching a new Species Recovery Programme Capital Grant Scheme (SRPCGS) which will run for two years. The aim of the grant is to help reverse the decline of threatened or endangered species – a list of which can be found in Section 41 of the NERC Act 2006 which highlights priority species for conservation.

There are questions regarding the scheme which will be relevent for CLA members in England, including:

Who can apply?

This capital grant is for partnerships, businesses, and organisations which are formally constituted. Those who are not formally constituted will need to work with a lead organisation who is. Private individuals cannot apply, but they can work with a lead organisation.

How much funding is available?

Grant requests can be anywhere between 50k and 500k.

What activities will it cover?

Natural England has listed the following activities which are in scope for the capital grant:

  • Habitat enhancement and/or creation works
  • Purchase and installation of new site infrastructure
  • Preliminary surveys to inform subsequent capital delivery and subsequent surveys/monitoring to assess their effectiveness
  • Equipment purchase
  • Conservation translocations
  • Enabling activities which are required to get a capital asset to a useable/functioning state/condition
  • Directly attributable staff costs
  • Research and Development (minor elements only)

Can the grant cover species translocations?

The grant can cover species translocation projects, including reintroductions. Projects must follow the Reintroductions and other conservation translocations code and guidance for England. However, projects for species such as beavers, which are not eligible for wild release, will not be considered.

How will it interact with Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes?

Land under Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreements are eligible so long as:

  • They are not delivering the same outcome
  • The capital grant is not at odds with an existing ES or CS agreement
  • The capital grant will not be used to cover a failure to deliver ES or CS

Further details on the criteria for applications will be made available in the invitation to apply. Applications will be accepted from 3rd April 2023, for a 6-week period.