Environmental Cooperation Action Fund opens for applications

Young tree in plantation
Norette Ferns

The new £10 million Environmental Cooperation Action Fund is now open for applications.

This Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) scheme is aimed at protecting and enhancing Scotland's natural environment. The purpose of the Environmental Cooperation Action Fund (ECAF) is to encourage and support landscape-scale environmental projects involving cooperating groups of farmers, foresters and/or other land managers.

The first application round opened today (6 October) and will close on 15 January 2016.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead said:

"People who work the land are the custodians of Scotland’s magnificent natural environment. Our country’s stunning landscapes, iconic wildlife and diverse ecosystems are world-renowned and underpin our rural economy.

"This fund will support collaborative projects aimed at increasing biodiversity, improving water quality and managing flooding – measures that will not only protect the environment, but help it thrive and flourish.

"And, with the agriculture and land use sector accounting for a fifth of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions, this scheme will also contribute to Scotland’s world-leading climate change targets as part of the greenest Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) we have ever had."

Funding is targeted to deliver the following priorities, which are most effectively addressed at a landscape scale and contribute to meeting Scotland’s targets for biodiversity, climate change and water environment:

  • Habitat and degraded ecosystem restoration
  • Conservation of vulnerable priority species
  • Control of invasive non-native plant species
  • Deer management
  • Catchment management for water quality
  • Physical restoration of water bodies
  • Natural flood management
  • Woodland creation

The Environmental Cooperation Action Fund will support the costs of planning, facilitating and overseeing cooperative projects, principally by the funding the activities of a facilitator. Once the cooperative group has been established and the landscape scale action has been planned, applications can be made to the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme and/or Forestry Grant Scheme, or an alternative source of funding to support the costs of on-the-ground management to implement these environmental projects.

For more information, including how to apply, visit the Scottish Government website.

Information events on the Environmental Cooperation Action Fund will be announced soon - keep an eye on our Events section. We'll also have information on these events in our newsletter. If you're not already signed up you can do so at www.ruralnetwork.scot/user/register.

In addition to the Environmental Cooperation Action Fund, Forestry Commission Scotland will run a ‘Forestry Cooperation Option’ as part of the Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS).

The Environmental Cooperation Action Fund (ECAF) is jointly funded by the Scottish Government and European Union under the Scottish Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.