Nature Networks - Funding and Finance

As outlined in the nature networks framework, Nature Networks require sustained and long-term funding that is accessible at all stages of delivery. Both public and private funding must recognise the importance of wider landscape connectivity. Below are a number of public and private sourced funding streams and grant funds that can be used to contribute to work on nature networks. More generally, natural capital and nature-based finance approaches are being developed with the view to harness responsible private investment for restoration. Opportunities will be added as they emerge. 

Scottish Rural Development Programme Funding

Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) 

AECS can be used by agricultural bodies and farmers to help ensure their farms contribute to nature networks through protecting and enhancing Scotland’s natural heritage, improving water quality, managing flood risk, and helping to mitigate and adapt to climate change. 

Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) 

FGS can help an existing woodland or, land through the creation of new woodland, contribute to the connectivity of nature-rich sites and therefore the enhancement or creation of nature network.

Grant funding

Peatland Action 

Peatland ACTION funding supports on-the-ground peatland restoration activities. This funding can be used to restore degraded peatland in areas where two peatland sites may need connecting up contributing to a nature network. 

Nature Restoration Fund 

The Scottish Government's Nature Restoration Fund (NRF) is a competitive fund, which specifically encourages multi-year, multi-partner applications for projects that restore wildlife and habitats on land and sea, and address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. Projects looking to improve connectivity are applicable to all priority themes, in particular ‘Habitat and species restoration – management for enhancement and connectivity’ and ‘Urban: Enhancing and connecting nature across, and between, towns and cities’. 

SMEEF Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement fund  

This fund can be accessed by projects that aim to improve and enhance coastal habitat connectivity. 

FIRNS – The Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland 

The FIRNS fund can be used to support Nature Networks through the development of financial tools and methods for quantifying the benefits of biodiversity to aid investment. 

Other funding

National Heritage Lottery Fund 

The NHLF fund a number of heritage projects including ‘Nature – works to improve habitats or conserve species, as well as helping people to connect to nature in their daily lives.’ These can include, works to improve habitats or conserve species, as well as helping people to connect to nature in their daily lives, and large-scale rural projects that help improve landscapes for people and nature by, for example, restoring habitats and celebrating the cultural traditions of the land. 

SSE – Sustainable development fund 

The Sustainable development fund looks to fund projects in various areas of Scotland that cover one of the following criteria; 

  • Creating opportunities – Create or enhance opportunities for education and employment through activities that develop skills and improve an individual’s chance of entering the workplace. 

  • Empowering communities – Empower communities to become more resilient and protect vulnerable residents through measures which demonstrate long-term social, environmental or economic improvements. 

  • Sustainable places – Stimulate meaningful regeneration to improve or enhance local infrastructure, landscape, biodiversity or heritage and make a lasting difference to the places we live, work and visit. 

Greenspace Scotland 

Greenspace Scotland signpost to a number of funding opportunities with a focus on community funds of various sizes.  

Participatory Budgeting  

Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which citizens decide directly how to spend part of a public budget. At least 1% of local authority budgets should be allocated via the PB process. Each Local Authority has its own approach to PB, please see their websites for more details.  

Renewable Energy Community Funds  

Community benefits are a renewable industry led voluntary initiative to support communities – often in the form of funds. They offer an opportunity for communities to work with renewable energy businesses for the long-term benefit of the community. Local Authorities also manage funds for community benefits which are derived from payments made by developers. More information can be found on Local Authority websites.   

The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) 

TCV produce a regular Funding Newsletter, aimed at community level projects. Some of this funding may facilitate project delivery at a local to regional scale.  

Working together to build a useful toolbox 

If you know of other funds that you believe should be featured here, please let us know via this online form

Find out more about the Nature Networks Toolbox


Nature Networks

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