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£40m Second Round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund Opens for Applications

Environmental charities and partners across England to benefit from fund which will create and retain jobs while restoring nature and tackling climate change

Grants of up to £2 million each are now available to help the nation build back greener from the coronavirus pandemic, the government announced today [Tuesday 9 March].

The second round of the Green Recovery Challenge fund will award up to £40 million in grants to environmental charities and their partners across England to create and retain jobs while restoring nature and tackling climate change.

All projects must contribute to at least one of the following themes of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund:

  • nature conservation and restoration;

  • nature-based solutions, particularly focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation; and,

  • connecting people with nature.

Almost £40 million was awarded in November in the first round to 68 projects that will help to restore damaged habitats such as moorlands, wetlands and forests – which will see over 800,000 trees planted. The projects will also support conservation work and help to improve education about the environment.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

I am delighted to launch the second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund to help kick-start more projects to restore nature, tackle climate change and create thousands of new jobs as society comes together for our planet. This is more important than ever as we build back greener from the coronavirus pandemic.
In the first round, we awarded grants across a broad variety of environmental projects, ranging from planting trees, and restoring peatlands to connecting people with green spaces, forests and protected landscapes. I encourage more organisations to apply so we can continue to make a real difference.

The fund will be delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Forestry Commission and the Environment Agency.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

We are delighted to be working with Defra once again to ensure that the nature and environment sector receives this further support from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. It is vital that we build a pipeline of green projects that protect and enhance our beautiful countryside and wildlife, create jobs, and positively impact on our wellbeing.

Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said:

The launch of the second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund is another step towards improving our wonderful landscapes and habitats upon which we all depend.
We are beginning to see the tangible benefits this fund can deliver. It is opening the doors to careers in Nature recovery and helping to encourage a flourishing environment. Natural England has been working behind the scenes with Defra and the NLHF to prepare for today’s launch and our staff on the ground are already working with eNGO partners to bring forward even more inspiring projects that continue this ambition.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said:

The pandemic has exposed a great hunger for green spaces as both sanctuary and escape. This fund is an opportunity for environmental groups to support jobs that restore nature and prepare for climate shocks like floods and heatwaves. As the country moves out of lockdown, fostering skills in the economy that improve the environment will help the UK build back better, faster and greener.

For grants of over £250,000, applicants must submit an expression of interest by 22 March and if successful will be invited to submit a full application. The deadline for applications under £250,000 is 14 April.

The second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund was announced as part of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution in November 2020.

The Prime Minister also re-iterated the government’s commitment to re-foresting Britain by increasing planting to 30,000 hectares (75,000 acres) of trees every year by 2025, and create a new patchwork of woodlands. The government has recently consulted on a new England Tree Strategy to expand tree cover, support woodland management and increase public engagement with trees and woodlands.

The government’s flagship Environment Bill puts the environment at the centre of policy making to ensure that we have a cleaner, greener and more resilient country for the next generation.


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