The Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund supports organisations seeking investment to fund nature projects. The scheme aims to stimulate private investment to tackle climate change, create and restore habitats, or improve water quality.

From an overall budget of £10 million, grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 are available. The aim is to establish a pipeline of projects for the private sector to invest in to improve and safeguard the natural environment.

The Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund is open to help businesses, not-for-profit organisations, environmental groups and local authorities. Funds can be used to develop nature projects to a point where they can attract private investment, bring their eco-friendly business ideas to market and develop new funding models that can be replicated elsewhere.

The competitive grant scheme, which is being delivered by the Environment Agency on behalf of Defra, will help organisations get specialist advice, engage investors and build capacity to develop their project.

Projects must protect or enhance the domestic natural environment in line with one or more of the Government’s 25 year environment plan goals in the context of the following natural capital asset types:

  • Urban or areas of transition from rural to urban land uses (peri-urban).
  • Enclosed farmland.
  • Mountain, moor and heathland.
  • Freshwaters and wetlands.
  • Woodland.
  • Coastal margins.
  • Marine.
  • Semi-natural grassland.

All costs must be directly associated with developing the investment readiness proposal to be eligible for funding.

Applications are accepted from not-for-profit organisations in England, including charities, community interest companies and environmental non-governmental organisations. Public bodies such as local councils, national park authorities and academic institutions are also eligible, as are businesses, including sole traders.

The deadline for applications for the second and final round is 3 February 2022.

Further details: