A grant scheme of at least £4m has been launched today (Tuesday, July 7) to help improve sites of natural significance around Wales, supporting land managers, charities and communities to take forward their vital work and contribute to the nation’s recovery from Covid-19.
The Welsh Government, in partnership with Natural Resources Wales, has opened a new round of grant funding for large-scale capital projects to maintain and improve Natura 2000 sites.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a spotlight on the value of nature and the importance of access to our natural environment to our health and well-being.
Natura 2000 sites were set up in 2011 with the aim of ensuring the long-term survival of valuable and threatened species and habitats across Europe. They form part of the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world.
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said:
As well as improving Wales’ natural environment, the grant funding will also deliver further benefits to communities and landscapes surrounding Natural 2000 sites – as well as boost the resilience of ecosystems to climate impacts..
Organisations and individuals who can demonstrate action to improve Natura 2000 sites by March 2021 are encouraged to apply. The grant window will be open for five weeks.
The scheme is just one part of the wider programme of significant investment into natural resources led by Welsh Government, through a range of different schemes – including Enabling Natural Resources and Well-being (ENRaW); Glastir; Sustainable Management and Green Infrastructure projects.
Ruth Jenkins, Head of Natural Resource Planning at NRW said: