Funding to help nature projects grow

17 February 2023

Scottish Government news release

Supporting and scaling up responsible investment in nature.

Environmental organisations, community groups, land owners and farmers will be eligible to apply for a share of £1.8 million funding to help grow their nature projects.

The Scottish Government and NatureScot, working in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, are launching a new programme of support to help scale up private investment in Scotland’s natural capital.

Grants of up to £240,000 will be offered to organisations and partnerships to help develop a viable business case and financial model, to attract investment in projects that can restore and improve the natural environment, such as, but not limited to, woodland creation, marine enhancement and peatland restoration. Successful projects will also demonstrate the means to engage and share benefits with communities, contributing to a just transition.

The Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland programme also aims to ensure that investment in, and use of, Scotland’s natural capital creates benefits that are shared.

Minister for Environment and Land Reform Mairi McAllan said:

“The Scottish Government has already significantly increased public investment in nature restoration through, for example, our £65 million Nature Restoration Fund.

“But public investment can’t do it alone. The finance gap for nature in Scotland for the next decade has been estimated to be £20 billion - that’s why we are working to find ways to bridge this finance gap through leveraging responsible private finance. 

“The Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland programme will enable swifter, easier and scaled up development of nature-based investable projects across the country. It has the potential to grow natural capital markets that reach across rural, urban, terrestrial and marine settings, and to support a wide variety of natural assets and ecosystem services.”

NatureScot’s Director of Green Economy Robbie Kernahan said:

“Scotland’s nature is in crisis: its unique habitats and ecosystems will only continue providing the benefits to our wellbeing if we act now to value it and invest in it. The new Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland is a vital opportunity to stimulate that investment and will help us halt nature loss – we must grasp it with both hands.”

Heritage Fund Director for Scotland Caroline Clark said:

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we are delighted to support this programme which will ensure more of Scotland’s natural capital can be unlocked for the benefit of the environment and communities.

“FIRNS offers an exciting opportunity to explore ways of diversifying income for Scotland’s nature sector and building skills, capacity and resilience for the communities and organisations who are caring for the future of our natural world in a time of immense change.” 


NatureScot is offering grants of up to £120,000 through the Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland (FIRNS). Applicants to FIRNS are also encouraged to apply for co-funding through project grants of up to £120,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Applications are encouraged from eNGOs, community groups, land owners, farmers and other private sector organisations, individually or in consortia. Projects will be expected to be developed in line with Scottish Government’s interim principles for responsible private investment in natural capital.

Over the next two months, NatureScot, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Green Finance institute will host a series of seminars and workshops to support applicants to understand the different stages of the investment-readiness project development pathway.

NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter.

’S e NatureScot buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Bidh sinn a’ neartachadh àrainneachd na h-Alba agus a’ brosnachadh dhaoine gu barrachd suim a chur ann an nàdar. Tha e mar phrìomhachas againn gum bi nàdar na h-Alba beairteach agus gun dèilig sinn gu h-èifeachdach le èiginn na gnàth-shìde. Tha an tuilleadh fiosrachaidh aig no air Twitter.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.