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Welsh environmental projects encouraged to apply for grant funding

08 Jul 2024 4 minute read
Image: Wye Valley National Landscape Team

Grants from £50,000 to £1million are being made available as part of a project to strengthen the resilience of Wales’ network of protected land and marine sites.

The grants form part of the fourth round of funding available through the Nature Networks Fund which is distributed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales.

The Nature Networks Fund has already made a significant impacts across Wales, with more than 90 projects funded and over £26 million awarded since 2021.

This round will put another £10m toward nature’s recovery including opportunities to encourage the development of a pipeline of investment ready projects.

Carn Perfdd – Credit James Roden

Launched in 2021, the Nature Networks Fund program aims to tackle ecological challenges by strengthening the resilience of Wales’ network of protected land, freshwater and marine sites whilst also encouraging community engagement.

Success

One of the successful recipients of funding is Project Seagrass. This project works to preserve, protect, and restore seagrass meadows – a crucial component of healthy coastal landscapes and marine ecosystems.

As part of their work to revitalise and restore seagrass meadows in north Wales, the Seagrass Ocean Rescue team also trains local people in marine conservation skills so they can get actively involved in bringing back this valuable system.

Another successful project, Cysylltu Natur 25×25, is an ambitious undertaking by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Their goal is to significantly boost nature recovery across 25% of the park’s northern section by 2025 and help connect species-rich habitats to nationally and internationally protected sites, fostering a more resilient environment in which wildlife can flourish.

Identity

Andrew White, Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said: “In Wales our identities are intrinsically linked to our natural heritage.

“Protecting the environment is a priority for The National Lottery Heritage Fund and seeing the impact and transformation first hand as a result of working alongside The Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales continues to inspire me. 

“We have a wonderful array of landscapes, from our imposing mountains and ancient woodlands, to roaring waterfalls and breathtaking coastline.

“It therefore brings me great joy to be able to continue to play our part in protecting and restoring Wales’ natural heritage with this latest round of Nature Networks Funding.”

Huw Irranca-Davies

Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies added: “I’m so pleased to announce the latest round of the Nature Networks Fund. 

“The funding supports a range of projects designed to improve the resilience of our protected sites network whilst also developing capacity and opportunities to attract additional investment – some of which I have had the pleasure of visiting across Wales.

“Today’s announcement will allow further opportunities to help us meet our international biodiversity targets and tackle the climate and nature emergencies.”

Image credit: Snowdonia Donkeys

Ruth Jenkins, Head of Natural Resource Management Policy at Natural Resources Wales commented: “We are in a nature emergency with biodiversity in decline. But we also recognise that nature is the foundation stone of Wales’ well-being – supporting community cohesion and resilience, strong local economies, employment, learning, and mental and physical health. And this is why restoring and increasing nature’s resilience is so crucial.

“NRW is delighted to continue this collaboration with Welsh Government and the Natural Lottery Heritage Fund to support this important funding and play our part in building the momentum needed to achieve the wider ambition to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, and effectively manage 30% of our land, waters and seas by 2030.

“We encourage our partners across land and sea to seize this opportunity and work together and with others to help deliver a wide portfolio of ambitious projects that will benefit people and wildlife for generations to come.”

Apply

Individuals and organisations based in Wales are encouraged to apply for the Nature Networks Fund. To be eligible, applicants must have the necessary permissions, licenses, and consents to work on the protected site network or surrounding areas, or must be working towards them.

The application process begins with submitting a Project Enquiry for projects up to £250k or an Expression of Interest (EOI) for projects over £250k. Project Enquiries must be received by 22 July.

Further information on the Nature Networks Fund and the application process can be found on the website of The National Lottery Heritage Fund.


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