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Launch of 2021/22 Environmental Challenge Fund Competition

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Launch of 2021/22 Environmental Challenge Fund Competition

This is a grant competition for CAPITAL and RESOURCE/PROGRAMME funding for projects to help people to connect with the natural environment and to conserve our most important habitats. The key areas for funding under this Environmental Challenge Competition are:

  1. Nature Recovery: Building ecological and climate resilience
    Projects may include:

    • large scale action towards the development or implementation of landscape scale nature recovery networks, which may encompass:
      • Restoration of priority habitat, including terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats.
      • Improvement in the condition of Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs), designated sites and peatland habitats in the terrestrial, marine and coastal environment.
      • Creation of blue and green spaces that connect wildlife-rich habitats by acting as wildlife corridors or ‘stepping stones’.
    • Recovery of threatened native species, including helping to reverse species decline.
    • Measures to tackle specific threats to the natural environment such as invasive non-native species, wildfires and ammonia.
    • Nature-based solutions, particularly for water quality (such as natural river or waterways protection and improvements) and climate change mitigation and adaptation (such as increased natural shoreline resilience to address coastal erosion and coastal squeeze or resilient peatland habitats to address degradation).
    • Environmental surveying, monitoring and mapping where this will produce required statistically reliable long term surveillance indices/data.
    • Projects to support ecosystem assessment, mapping, modelling and reporting to inform the design and delivery of effective, coherent nature networks and the development of decision making tools for policies, plans and programmes.
    • Production of data and case studies on the feasibility and application of habitat and species restoration and Nature Based Solutions in a Northern Ireland context.
    • Feasibility studies and development of strategic plans for future large scale delivery of these environmental outcomes to fill a gap in need.
    • Land purchase to help deliver the environmental outcomes outlined above.
  2. Connecting People with nature
    Projects may include actions contributing to:

    • Creation, improvement and maintenance of nature-rich core path networks, strategic routes, waymark ways and trails in urban and rural locations.
    • Improvements of outdoor recreation facilities, and provision of infrastructure to enhance accessibility for all.
    • Improvements to national or regional environmental education facilities.
    • Bolstering health and wellbeing through blue/green social prescribing.
    • Improving access to nature for under-represented groups.
    • Improving educational opportunities relating to nature, including for under-represented groups.
    • Volunteering, including the establishment of new local groups or greater public involvement within their organisation.
    • Strategic community engagement for environmental conservation and improvement.
    • Strategic development of citizen science for environmental conservation and improvement where this will produce reliable long term surveillance indices/data.
    • Production of feasibility studies, development of strategic plans, data, mapping and statistics on outdoor recreation and environmental education at a regional or sub-regional scale.
    • Essential short term maintenance, ranger and visitor management associated with the increased use of outdoor recreation routes within priority habitats during the Covid Pandemic.
    • Land purchase to help deliver the environmental outcomes outlined above.

How to apply for the Environmental Challenge Competition 2021/22

  1. The following documents are also available to download on this website:

How much can we offer?

For the 2021/22 Environmental Challenge Competition the minimum overall project cost is £30,000. The maximum amount of DAERA funding available under the competition will be 85% of eligible project costs except in exceptional or compelling circumstances such as high priority Covid 19 recovery requirements or urgent designated site restoration.

Closing date for applications of noon on Tuesday 01 June 2021.

Lottery Funded
NIEA DoE N&M DC Biodiversity

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