The £27 million scheme has been set up with funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development to help improve all types of water-dependent habitats under pressure in England.
Jointly launched by Defra, Natural England and the Environment Agency, the Water Environment Grant scheme will provide £9 million each year over the next three years to not-for-profit organisations, land managers, and public bodies for projects that restore local eco-systems and deliver substantial benefits to people and the environment in rural England.
Grants of up to £2 million are available for projects that improve the water environment in rural England, which includes rivers and their estuaries; lakes; canals; wetlands; groundwater, and coastal waters. Projects may be in an urban area but they must benefit a rural area. For example, it could be an urban river restoration project that allows fish to migrate upstream to a rural area to spawn.
Potential projects could include:
There is particular interest in projects that provide wider benefits to the environment and local community, by:
Projects should start before March 2019 and be completed by March 2021.
Commenting on the scheme, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:
“The Water Environment Grant scheme offers a fantastic opportunity for applicants from across the country to secure funding for projects to enhance the environment, boost wildlife and benefit their rural community.
“This project will help us to deliver a balanced programme of environmental improvements across England and I am looking forward to seeing the creative and innovative projects of the applicants.”
The deadline for applications is 11 May 2018.