Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF) FAQs

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Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF)

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What is SMEEF?

The Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF) is a new and exciting approach to building a fund to help secure monies for coastal and marine enhancement projects. The Fund will accept voluntary donations from users of the marine environment and use it to create a grant pot for projects which will enhance and restore natural capital these sectors rely on.

The development of the Fund and appointment of a project manager was announced by Mike Palmer, Deputy Director for Marine Planning and Policy, Scottish Government, Cathy Tilbrook, Head of Sustainable Coasts and Seas, NatureScot and Colin Palmer, Director of Marine, Crown Estate Scotland on 8th December 2020.

Why do we need SMEEF?

The public profile of environmental issues has never been higher – SMEEF provides a timely opportunity to make an important contribution to meeting Scotland’s environmental targets and to a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

SMEEF reflects the fact that Scotland’s seas are not only an incredibly rich resource of natural capital but also a shared space supporting a wide range of industries and coastal communities up and down the coast of Scotland. 

There has also been limited emphasis on coastal and marine enhancement projects to date.

What is the long term goal for SMEEF?

The core, long term aims of SMEEF are to establish a long-running, effective funding mechanism that will:

  • Assist with meeting the challenges of the climate and biodiversity crises through an emphasis on environmental enhancement projects
  • Assist with meeting Scotland’s environmental aspirations and targets by giving opportunities for biodiversity resilience and gain and carbon reduction and sequestration
  • Provide demonstrable corporate social responsibility opportunities by taking voluntary contributions from relevant sectoral interests
  • Encourage research and development which will support sustainable development in the marine and coastal environment.

Why should my company get involved?

SMEEF aims to provide an opportunity for users benefiting from the rich natural marine resource to voluntarily re-invest in the natural capital so important to them. It is a chance to support sustainable growth of maritime sectors by safeguarding and enhancing that natural resource and demonstrating your commitment to healthier seas.

It is also a mechanism for businesses to support the development of a wellbeing economy for Scotland's coastal communities and visitors by building community capacity to engage with habitat enhancement.

What sort of projects will be funded?

The selection criteria for projects are still being decided, however projects which offer insights into how the marine environment can be enhanced or protected are likely to be welcome as are practical projects which protect or enhance marine ecosystems. Approaches which demonstrate new ways to approach marine environmental enhancement are also likely to be welcomed.

Projects which deliver against aspects of the Blue Economy Action Plan, part of the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2020/21 or the Scottish Government’s Statement of Intent on Biodiversity post-2020 and a Green Recovery are also likely to be welcome.

When will the fund be open to applications?

We aim to launch SMEEF towards the end of 2021.

How much is the fund and how long will it last?

The amount of the funding pot will be announced at the launch of the fund later in 2021. The aim of SMEEF is to establish a long term funding mechanism for marine environmental enhancement.

When are the funding rounds?

The application procedure will be announced at the launch of the fund later in 2021.

Will this replace existing funding?

We are working hard with our partners to ensure that SMEEF represents an increase in the overall budget for marine environmental enhancement.

Who runs SMEEF?

The SMEEF project manager is currently hosted by NatureScot and the fund is backed by the Scottish Government and Crown Estate Scotland. The full decision making, financial management and governance arrangements are currently being finalised and will be announced at the launch of the fund later in 2021.

Who funds SMEEF?

Funding has been secured from a range of partners including the offshore wind industry who have led the early development of SMEEF. New partners are continually being approached and added to the list of funders.

To date SMEEF has benefitted from voluntary donations of up to £25,000 from the following organisations.

  • Crown Estate Scotland
  • EDF Energy
  • Mainstream Renewable Power
  • Marine Scotland
  • Ocean Winds
  • Quaybridge
  • Red Rock Power
  • RIDG Power
  • RWE
  • Scottish Power Renewables
  • Simply Blue Group
  • SSE Renewables
  • Vattenfall

How much do different organisations pay into SMEEF?

The sizes of organisations involved with SMEEF vary considerably and operational issues, including Covid 19, mean their ability to pay into the Fund is also variable.  All donations to the fund are welcome with the aim to establish a sustainable rolling fund.

How do I find out more?

You can see more information on our website or email the project manager at