Scottish Government launches £10m fund to back nature safeguarding projects

(Image: Lennystan, Shutterstock)

THE Scottish Government has launched a new £10 million fund to back projects that safeguard nature.

It will support a mix of urban and rural-focused projects, such as the improvement of greenspace for outdoor learning; green active travel routes; planting of wildlife corridors; and natural flood management.

Half of the funding will go to local authorities to develop new or existing projects which help address biodiversity loss and climate change, whilst also aiming to promote the health and wellbeing of local communities and reduce inequalities.

The remaining £5 million will include a small project competitive fund of £1 million to be distributed by NatureScot. The Scottish Government said that the sum will go directly to established nature restoration projects across the country – including native-tree planing; nature restoration in rivers, lochs and coasts; and improving and connecting habitats.

The funding was announced by environment minister, Mairi McAllan, during a visit to Malls Mires. The community regeneration project in North Toryglen, Glasgow, saw 15 hectares of land be turned into wetland and woodland by Clyde Gateway and Urban Roots.

Mairi McAllan said, “Our new £10 million fund will  help address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change in a way that supports Scotland’s urban and rural communities and tackles inequalities. And it’s just one of a range of actions we’re taking. From our ground breaking work leading the international ‘Edinburgh process’ to investing in locally driven nature restoration projects in urban, rural and coastal Scotland, we’re helping to improve the health and wellbeing of communities, improve air and water quality, create green jobs and tackle climate change and biodiversity loss.

“As we prepare to welcome COP26 to Glasgow later this year, we’re committed to raising our ambition for nature’s recovery. Our statement of intent sets out our ambitions and includes a new voluntary commitment to protect 30% of our land for nature by 2030.”

NatureScot chief executive, Francesca Osowska, added, “More people than ever now understand and support the need to put nature at the heart of our recovery from the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. With COP15 and COP26 coming up, Scotland has a huge opportunity to address the many challenges and pressures that nature is facing.

“This £10 million investment is a significant boost for nature restoration, allowing us to support many more projects working to put our woodlands, peatlands, rivers and seas back on the road to recovery – taking carbon out of the atmosphere, adapting to climate change and reducing the risks of flood, drought and wildfire. These nature-based solutions will not only help us reach net zero by 2045, they’ll provide the nature-rich future we need for a healthier, more resilient Scotland.”