Natural Course supporting environment projects to create sustainable funding models

New investment approach announced to involve private sector in environmental projects, helping to tackle climate change and restore nature.

Natural Course has supported two of the four selected projects

It was announced (1st June 2020) that four projects which will protect and restore valuable habitats have been selected to receive funding in a pilot scheme to encourage sustainable private sector investment in our natural environment.

Defra, the Environment Agency (EA), Esmée Fairbairn Foundation (EFF) and Triodos Bank UK have formed a collaboration to support environmental projects to create sustainable funding models.

Having been sourced and evaluated by Triodos Bank UK the projects will receive grant funding from Defra, the EA and EFF to support their development, complete business plans to attract private sector investment, and deliver long-term environmental benefits and sustainable financial returns.

Natural Course has supported two of the projects by giving support through the application process and through complementary funding.


Peatland restoration and conservation in the Pennines

Peatlands have a vital part to play in tackling climate change, storing more carbon than all other types of vegetation in the world combined, and damage to peatlands is a major source of carbon emissions.

The peatlands of the south and west Pennines are some of the most degraded in uplands in Europe, and as well as being damaged in the past by the coal-fired industry in Manchester and Sheffield, they are facing future pressure from hot summers and wet winters due to climate change.

The Moors for the Future Partnership is already working to restore and conserve peatland in the area, but needs to attract greater investment in order to carry out this work on a larger scales to protect more of this vital habitat.

It is hoped this project will be successful in developing a range of returns, including financial, for investors.  This pilot is a natural successor to the landscape-scale work that has already been achieved and will allow the partnership to pioneer the development

Natural Course supported Moors for the Future with the application for this project through the wider natural capital work taking place across Greater Manchester.

Krista Patrick, Natural Capital Coordinator, Greater Manchester Environment Team said:

“As we continue to develop innovative financing models for natural environment projects this is really exciting news.  We look forward to building our links and engagement with Moors for the Future on this rapidly evolving and transformative agenda.”


An innovative funding approach to enable the delivery of Natural Flood Management in the Wyre Catchment, Lancashire

The use of natural flood management, including the building of leaky dams, the creation of bog, and the rewetting of peat, on 70 hectares of the River Wyre catchment by our partners the Rivers Trust would help to reduce the frequency of flooding for a number of properties in Lancashire.

At the same time as reducing flood risk, these natural flood management schemes will create new habitats for wildlife and help to mitigate climate change through the storage of greenhouse gases in the newly created wetlands and peatlands.

The seed funding will allow The Rivers Trust to work with the Wyre Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, United Utilities, Triodos Bank UK, Co-op Insurance and Flood Re, to develop a financial instrument that would allow upfront investment from the private sector to be reimbursed by the beneficiaries of a healthier environment.  This will help prioritise investment in solutions which offer the greatest social, economic and environmental return for the catchment and its community

This project is complementary funded by Natural Course.

Mark Lloyd, CEO from The Rivers Trust, said:

“At a time when we are facing a climate emergency, we must find new ways to invest in recovery of the natural processes that protect and support us, at a scale and pace that can make a difference. Hard engineering alone will not address our future flood risk challenges and must be supplemented by natural solutions.

“We believe that by implementing natural flood risk management features at scale, we could see significant financial returns from a better river environment. We expect this pilot to lead to future natural capital investment and build a credible case for green investment to restore our river landscapes.”


Photo credit: The Rivers Trust