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  • by Karma Loveday

Green Recovery Challenge Fund to hand out grants totalling up to £40m in second round

Defra has opened the second round of its Green Recovery Challenge fund, which will award up to £40m in grants to environmental charities and their partners across England to create and retain jobs while restoring nature and tackling climate change. Water companies and other utilities qualify as partners but cannot be the lead applicant or receive the grant funding themselves.


All projects must contribute to at least one of the following themes:

  • nature conservation and restoration;

  • nature-based solutions, particularly focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation; and

  • connecting people with nature.

Almost £40m was awarded in November in the first round to 68 projects that will help to restore damaged habitats such as moorlands, wetlands and forests – which will see over 800,000 trees planted. The projects will also support conservation work and help to improve education about the environment.



Water Plus renews sustainability rating

Water Plus has reported it has secured an EcoVadis sustainability rating for the third year. EcoVadis is the world’s largest provider of business sustainability ratings, with a global network of more than 65,000 rated companies. It looks at the the integration of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles in an organisation, focusing on 21 issues grouped into four themes: environment, labour practices and human rights, fair business practices, and sustainable procurement.

Water Plus was ranked in the top 50% of companies across the world for its CSR approach. The company highlighted in particular its work to reduce water waste with employees and customers, and its support for tree planting initiatives.



Defra launches Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

Defra last week published details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot scheme it is running, and today opens the pilot for expressions of interest. The Sustainable Farming Incentive will support approaches to farming that deliver for the environment, including regarding water quality and quantity.

The pilot will build on an ongoing programme of tests and trials, which already involve over 3,000 farmers and other land managers. The tests and trials focus on trying out individual parts of the future scheme, whereas the pilot will test a working version of the scheme from start to finish. 

The Sustainable Farming Incentive is the first of three schemes to be piloted and co-designed to replace the Common Agricultural Policy following the UK’s exit from the EU. Defra plans to share further information on the other two schemes, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery later this year. The three schemes will reward farmers and land managers for producing public goods like biodiversity, cleaner water, cleaner air, improving soil, and carbon reduction on their land.

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