Investment Ready Nature Scotland (IRNS) Grant Scheme

Latest update (November 2022)

The following 7 projects have been selected for IRNS funding.  Unsuccessful bids will be provided with feedback on their application in the coming days.

Read our latest news release - More thank £500K announced for natural capital projects (1 November 2022).

Latest update (August 2022) 

NatureScot, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have launched a grant scheme to help organisations and partnerships develop projects in Scotland that use private investment and market-based mechanisms to help finance the restoration of the natural environment in Scotland.

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Quote from Màiri McAllan, Minister for Environment and Land Reform
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“Private investment in Scotland’s natural capital will be critical to enabling the pace and scale of action required to deliver our world leading ambitions on addressing climate change and biodiversity loss. This partnership will help address barriers to scaling up investment in nature by enabling  organisations to attract private funding into their projects.

“Earlier this year, we published a set of interim principles on private sector investment in natural capital to set out in more detail our ambition to develop a values-led, high integrity market for responsible investment in natural capital in Scotland.  We want to focus investment in the right types of natural capital in the right places such as in nature-based solutions, like peatland restoration and woodland creation, which bring benefits for the environment, the economy and society as a whole. We are determined to ensure that this necessary private investment is socially responsible and provides wider public benefit, including for local communities. We want to work with investors, communities, land managers and other market stakeholders who share our values so that we encourage responsible investment in our natural capital for Scotland.”

Màiri McAllan, Minister for Environment and Land Reform

Public and philanthropic funding alone will not be sufficient to restore nature. The Green Finance Institute estimates that between £15 billion and £27 billion, in addition to current public funding, is needed over the next 10 years to restore nature across Scotland. Much of this will have to come from the private sector. Whilst this remains an ambitious target, restoring and protecting naturally functioning ecosystems has repeatedly been shown to provide cost-effective and durable solutions that often provide better value than grey technology and engineering.

Investment Ready Nature in Scotland addresses two of the four major barriers to scaling investment in UK nature identified by the Financing Nature Recovery UK initiative: -

  • Limited sources of revenue – Nature is systemically undervalued, and many ecosystem services are public goods, meaning there is no incentive to pay.
  • Limited pipeline and scale – Limited capacity in the supply chain mean that projects cannot be aggregated to a scale that would attract investment.

Selected projects will:

  • Be consistent with the Scottish Government’s Interim Principles for Responsible Investment in Natural Capital
  • Contribute to restoring nature, mitigating and adapting to climate change through nature-based solutions and improving opportunities for people to access and enjoy nature.
  • Develop replicable and scalable business models that derive revenue from natural capital and biodiversity and could be used to attract and repay the investment.


IRNS will provide technical assistance grants to help project developers:

  • get support from professional advisors to develop their project, address barriers to investment and present an attractive case for potential investors
  • build capability to attract financial investment into natural environment projects

The competitive scheme will be open to charities and other constituted non-profit organisations across Scotland. For-profit companies and unincorporated associations are encouraged to be part of partnerships but will not be able to receive the grant. 

Grants will be between £30,000 and £100,000 and up to 100% of eligible costs, which can include internal organisational capacity, specialist consultancy and technical advice.

Applications will be accepted from 9 August to 16 September 2022. Applicants will be notified of the funding decision during the EKN Natural Capital Finance & Investment Conference 2022 in Edinburgh on 1st November. Projects will be expected to provide a progress update by 1 March 2023 and projects must be complete by 29 March 2024 at the latest (all dates are subject to confirmation). 

Find out details of a IRNS webinar on the morning of 9 August where there will be opportunities to ask questions of the fund organisers over the course of the application window.

Prospective applicants should contact [email protected] for further details of application requirements, in advance of the formal launch.

Riverwoods Investment Readiness Pioneers

Projects that are interested in developing innovative approaches to attracting private investment into natural capital and biodiversity projects, but are not ready to apply for IRNS, perhaps because they have not yet engaged key partners or identified potential sources of revenue from ecosystem

services, are encouraged to see whether their ideas might be eligible for support through the Riverwoods Investment Readiness Pioneers programme that is being led by Scottish Wildlife Trust.


For more details contact [email protected]

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