£3m for Scottish projects investing in nature

OVER £3 million has been distributed to nature projects across Scotland to help them scale up their conservation work and ensure the benefits are shared with local communities.

The Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland (FIRNS) is co-funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with the Scottish Government and NatureScot. It aims to help create a pipeline of market-ready projects to help attract responsible private investment in Scotland’s nature.

27 diverse projects will share over £3.6 million this year – approximately £1.8 million from public funds and another £1.8 million matched by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The funded projects are spread across Scotland, from the Solway Firth to Shetland, Fife, across central Scotland, and the Hebrides.

Examples include using private finance to restore river catchments to improve water quality and reduce flood risk, while creating community assets such as growing spaces and improved green space.

Environment Minister Gillian Martin visited the Water of Leith Catchment in Inverleith Park – one of the projects to benefit from the new funding. She said, “The Scottish Government is already investing in nature at scale – with £65 million in the nature restoration fund and £250 million peatland restoration alone.

“However, given the scale of the challenges we face, public investment alone will not be sufficient to meet our ambitious climate change and nature targets. That is why both public and responsible private investment in Scotland’s natural environment will be essential.

“As set out in our new Programme for Government, we are committed to taking forward our distinctive market vision in Scotland – that is a market for responsible investment that contributes to a just transition by benefitting the environment and supporting communities.

“The Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland will support a diverse range of projects – from those seeking to restore coastal salt marshes, to iconic Atlantic rainforests, peatlands, rivers, lochs, farmland biodiversity and green spaces for nature and people. Encouraging responsible private investment will help ensure these projects can continue to grow and thrive.”

NatureScot Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said, “As we tackle the climate-nature crisis with a growing urgency, everyone has the responsibility to get us to net zero. These first-round FIRNS grants offer communities, companies, charities and individuals across Scotland the opportunity to develop bold business cases and financial models which will attract the investment required to restore nature.

“I’m inspired by the creativity and ambition these projects show us as we scale up our efforts to halt biodiversity loss and create a nature-rich country for us all. A thriving natural capital market that benefits the restoration of our coasts, rainforests, peatlands, farmlands and urban green spaces is great for communities and great for nature.”

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