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The scheme is currently at the development stage and is expected to launch in mid-April. The scheme will be administered by Natural England and the application window will be open between mid-April and mid-June 2021, with grants being awarded in August.
The aim of the scheme is to fund partnership projects covering large-scale peatland restoration. It appears that the scheme will be split into two sections; Restoration Grants for delivery of partnerships to carry out restoration work and Discovery Grants to support the engagement of new partnerships and the development of restoration grant applications in the following year of funding.
There will be no limit to the minimum or maximum levels for both project size or grant amount. However, it is expected that DEFRA will prioritise ambitious, landscape-scale projects.
To date, limited information has been provided on the scheme eligibility and criteria; more information is expected once the scheme has launched. It is thought that successful applicants will need to demonstrate how the sites will be protected beyond the term of the capital grant scheme with wildfire management being a likely part of this.
Eligible costs for Restoration Grants will likely include:
It is expected that restoration projects will need to include a baseline survey prior to restoration works starting. Guidance on monitoring the delivery of the works will be published once the scheme has been launched.
The Discovery Grants can be used to bring together or develop new partnerships and help develop what is required to apply for a Restoration Grant. This is expected to cover costs such as site surveys.
For restoration projects, it is expected that the grants will cover 75% of the eligible costs. It is possible that a greater percentage may be offered, but only in exceptional circumstances. The additional funding required can be sourced from match funding or private finance. The match funding cannot come from an existing project. If applicants can’t secure sufficient match funding, they will be liable to pay the money themselves. 100% of the total project costs will be covered for Discovery Grants.
More information is expected over the coming weeks and if you would like to consider a grant application, please do not hesitate to get in touch.