Defra launches fund to drive investment in nature

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Environment Agency (Defra) is seeking to seed fund projects with up to £100,00 each that tackle climate change, create and restore habitats, or improve water quality via its new Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund. The idea is that once set up these projects will be in a state to attract further 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.

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 pioneering fund, which is being delivered by the Environment Agency on behalf of Defra, will help organisations get specialist advice, engage investors and build capacity to develop their project to the stage when it is ready to receive and repay investment. Key will be the ability for projects to be scaled and replicable.

The fund – which will be open for applications until 26 March – will help deliver on commitments in the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and Green Finance Strategy, as well as supporting the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

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