Nature Restoration Fund

Who can apply

This fund is currently closed

Applications are welcomed from:

  • Constituted community groups
  • Public sector bodies
  • Charities
  • Voluntary and social enterprises
  • Co-operatives and community ownership initiatives
  • Development trusts


The eligibility of the fund is broadly the same as previous years where there is a focus on outcomes which address the main drivers of the decline in biodiversity on land and sea. To deliver this aim, the fund has five strategic themes:

  • Habitat and species restoration - management for enhancement and connectivity
  • Freshwater restoration – including restoration of natural flows in rural catchments
  • Coastal and marine – initiatives which promote restoration recovery, enhancement or resilience
  • Control of invasive non-native species (INNS) - impacting on nature
  • Urban - enhancing and connecting nature across, and between, towns and cities.

Although not exclusively, this year there is a particular focus on establishing ‘Nature Networks’ to better connect areas for nature. Also known as ecological connectivity, it is provided by wildlife sites, corridors and stepping-stones, landscape features, watercourses, green and blue spaces that together form integrated ‘Nature Networks’.

Types of projects supported:

The Nature Restoration Fund is a capital fund designed to deliver change on the ground. Eligible expenditure includes capital equipment, resources and materials to enhance biodiversity.

The types of projects which may be supported, but are not limited to include:

  • Action for pollinators (equipment for maintaining and creating wildflower areas or verges including planting)
  • Improving condition and use of Local Nature Reserves (purchase and planting)
  • Developing a local ‘Nature Network’ through planting of wildlife corridors, removal of barriers to wildlife movement and pollinator planting
  • Greening active travel routes (creating wildflower areas or verges including planting)
  • Natural flood management actions such as connecting rivers with flood plains, pond or wetland creation, de-culverting, in-stream works for habitat and flow variability
  • Removal of invasive non-native species (INNS) to improve the biodiversity value of the remaining habitat. INNS removal projects must be sustainable beyond the funding period and that there is a plan in place to manage sites thereafter.
  • Habitat and species enhancement works using native stock, enhancing natural coastal defences through marram, addressing coastal squeeze.

What we cannot fund:

  • Staff time to administer or manage the project is not eligible. We accept this as in-kind or match funding contribution. Labour or contractor costs to work on sites however is eligible.
  • We can fund small tree planting schemes or woodland improvement activity however applicants should check the Forestry Grant Scheme to determine if their project is more suitable for this fund.
  • Ongoing maintenance of any site.
  • Activities which are a condition of planning or statutory obligations.
  • Replacement of existing or new infrastructure where there is no biodiversity enhancement.
  • Costs for delivering educational or community engagement activities.
  • Interpretation materials apart from warning signs for the public where activity is taking place.
  • Surveys, monitoring, data analysis or research.
  • Feasibility studies or management plans.
  • Single use plastics, for example for tree protection. Biodegradable or re-usable materials should be sourced.
  • Contingency costs.
  • The purchase of livestock.

Fair Work First

Fair Work First is the Scottish Government's policy for driving high quality and fair work across the labour market in Scotland. This is increasingly being implemented to grants, other funding and contracts being awarded across the public sector. All applicants must provide a signed statement to evidence that their organisation is committed to advancing the ‘Real Living Wage’ and ‘Effective Voice’ criteria. Applications cannot progress without a signed statement. We have produced a Fair Work First summary guidance for further information.