We have been made aware of an opportunity for farmers and cluster groups to apply for a share of £200,000 funding from Severn Trent’s Boost for Biodiversity grant scheme. Deadline is mid-June, so if you’re in the area, read on!

Zara Turtle, Severn Trent’s senior biodiversity coordinator, explains that the scheme aims to bring communities together and improve habitats in the region, as part of the company’s Great Big Nature Boost project, which has bold targets to enhance 5,000ha of land by 2027.

“The great thing about Boost for Biodiversity is that it gives applicants the creative freedom to come up with unique ideas tailored to enhance and improve habitats in their area; we’re open to any ideas no matter how ambitious,” she says.

“Enhancing biodiversity helps build resilience in our natural ecosystems, boosting the health and quantity of several areas including woods, soils, rivers and wetlands. These enhancements will improve water quality and therefore make the vital resource more sustainable.”

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Applications for the scheme are open until 12 June 2020 and will require applicants to submit a project proposal showcasing their unique ideas to improve biodiversity.

“To give applicants some inspiration, previous successful projects have included woodland restoration, bird and mammal habitat improvement, wildflower meadow planting and invasive non-native species management,” says Zara.

Applications will be scored using set criteria including, size of area improved, number of additional benefits, value for money and contribution to improved water quality.

Zara explains that the top scoring candidates will be awarded with a grant to support their project. “Normally we’d hold a Dragons’ Den style pitch to give the successful applicants a chance to increase their funding. But with the current pandemic and uncertainty around when restrictions will be lifted, we’re investigating ways to hold this element of the scheme virtually.

“However, if you’re considering a project spanning an area over 50ha, please get in touch with the Severn Trent team to find out how we can create a bespoke partnership package to support your project,” she says.

Woodland restoration in Telford and Wrekin

The team at Small Woods secured a £30,000 grant from the Boost for Biodiversity scheme to help restore and manage areas of woodland that would otherwise fall into neglect.

The charity’s co-ordinator, Tristan Haynes, explains they manage approximately 500ha of woodland, but also support unemployed individuals to get back on the career ladder or in volunteering positions, through a programme of woodcraft sessions and supportive planning.

The money has already funded coppicing in Lime Kiln Woods, which will encourage rapid regrowth while helping to extend the life of each tree.

“The work will enhance woodland floor biodiversity, by allowing more light through the canopy to encourage plant growth. These species will provide food and shelter for both insects and mammals. We’ve also invested in temporary fencing to prevent deer eating the new shoots,” he says.

In addition to the work at Lime Kiln Woods, the Severn Trent grant is funding hedge laying work at Dothill Nature Reserve.

“To protect the wildlife within certain areas of the reserve, we’re creating natural barriers by laying hedges. This rejuvenates existing hedgerows, helps to keep sensitive areas quiet and provides shelter for other species,” says Tristan.

“We’re extremely grateful for the support from Severn Trent. We’re sure the wildlife, as well as our trainees and volunteers, will reap multiple benefits for years to come.”

Boost for Biodiversity

Application deadline: 12 June 2020

Total fund available: £200,000

Applications open to:

  • Schools
  • NGOs
  • Community groups
  • Charities
  • Businesses
  • Councils
  • Farmers and landowners

Top tips for applying:

Funding available in Severn Trent catchment

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