Wildflowers. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Nature fund open for new applications

04 December 2019

Additional funding is now available for ambitious ideas to improve habitats, safeguard species and tackle the causes of biodiversity loss, as the Biodiversity Challenge Fund opens its latest round.  

Scottish Government announced the £2m increase earlier this year in its latest Programme for Government. The Biodiversity Challenge Fund adds to the many millions of pounds of funding delivered through the Scottish Rural Development Programme and other sources to support biodiversity and help to deliver Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy.

The Biodiversity Challenge Fund (BCF) specifically encourages applicants with innovative projects that improve biodiversity and address the impact of climate change, by increasing the resilience of our most at-risk habitats and species and creating large areas of brand new habitat.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform  said:

“Projects receiving funding through our Biodiversity Challenge Fund will add to our extensive biodiversity work and will be at the forefront of pioneering work to restore our habitats, protect our species and promote nature.

“We all have a central role to play in improving our natural environment and tackling the climate emergency.”

Scottish Natural Heritage Chief Executive Francesca Osowska added:

“People know that climate change is a big issue but not as many know that biodiversity loss is also a global and generational threat to human well-being.  

“But it’s not just about conservation - enriching our nature is also part of the solution to the climate emergency too.

“Nature is at the heart of what we do, and we will continue to deliver the transformational change needed to bring a nature-rich future for Scotland.”


The aim of the Biodiversity Challenge Fund is to enable targeted action for priority habitats and species, accelerating efforts that will help Scotland meet its international biodiversity commitments. Creating a nature-rich future is an important part of our response to climate change.

Fulfilling a commitment initially made in the 2018 Programme for Government to establish a Biodiversity Challenge Fund, in summer 2019 Scottish Natural Heritage commenced administering investments of around £1.8 million to create and improve habitats for key species and encourage increased access to nature over the following 2 years. With a number of additional projects from the first round subsequently receiving funding offers, the latest announcement marks a boost to the total funding that has been made available to the Biodiversity Challenge Fund to around £4m.

The fund is supporting projects that are:

  • Ambitious and will make a demonstrable, and measurable, impact
  • Seek to address the drivers of biodiversity change with action preferably focused on causes rather than symptoms
  • Make connections on the ground and link actions and/ or projects, increasing resilience in those habitats and species most at risk.