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Devon launches Natural Capital Challenge Fund

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A new Natural Capital Challenge Fund has been launched by Devon County Council to help the Devon economy to build back better and encourage the green sector in the county.

This is the latest initiative brought forward by the County Council as part of its overall economic recovery programme, supporting the response set out in Team Devon’s Economic Recovery Prospectus.

With two coastlines, two national parks and five AONB’s, Devon’s environment is a key asset and the pilot funding scheme will aim to capitalise upon this to develop the county’s green economy aspirations.

A total funding pot of £300,000 is available to provide one off grant support for Devon-based businesses, social enterprises, charities, and community groups to create employment and training opportunities in the natural capital economy.

Devon County Council is inviting applications from projects to help encourage additional investment in this sector and aid recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. Applications must be submitted by 5pm on Friday 20 August and funding must be spent by the end of March 2023.

The trial project, which is offering maximum grant awards of up to £50,000, could support a range of initiatives such as improvements to biodiversity, tree planting, sustainable use of materials, reducing emissions, and increasing protection from flooding.

The funding scheme will also contribute towards the response to the Climate Emergency to help reduce carbon emissions in Devon to net zero by 2050. The project itself will provide the potential to save an estimated 3,000 tonnes of carbon, and restoration or recovery of 50 hectares of habitat.

Photo of Councillor Rufus Gilbert
Councillor Rufus Gilbert

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “This project has the potential to play a key role in revitalising our economy post Covid, while also having a positive impact on the environment. We want Devon to be a leader in the green economy so that we can help establish clean growth in the county, and this pilot project will hopefully inform how this sector can be developed in the longer term.

“If we make the most of our surroundings, our natural capital, we can protect and enhance our local environment while bringing about a range of social and economic benefits as well. It can help improve health and wellbeing, create recreational opportunities, generate sustainable energy, enhance biodiversity and encourage growth in employment and skills.”

For more information and to download the application pack please visit our economy webpages.