Funding opportunity for Scottish environmentalists
Scotland's environment watchdog is encouraging eco-minded organisations to apply for funding from the country's Water Environment Restoration Fund.
The call has been put out after the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), which manages the fund, extended the next deadline for grant applications by a week to Thursday 7 October.
Since 2008, the fund has distributed over £1.5million to both local and national projects designed to improve rivers and streams, lochs, wetlands and coastal areas.
Previous successful bids have included everything from working to control and eradicate dangerous, non-native species, such as Japanese Knotweed; through to restoring water courses to their natural shape after historic engineering work to straighten them.
Julie Tuck, SEPA's restoration specialist, said the fund was an opportunity for organisations to support and improve Scotland's water environment, which she described as an "intrinsic part" of the Scottish landscape.
"It fuels our industry, powers our houses and attracts tourists to the country," said Ms Tuck. "However, over the years it has been affected by various physical pressures, with the result that many of our rivers, lochs, wetlands and coastlines are no longer the pristine water environments they once were."
Projects seeking less than £10,000 from the Water Environment Restoration Fund can be reviewed at any point during the year and are not subject to an application deadline; however, applications for the more financially demanding projects must be submitted by the 7 October deadline.
Ms Tuck added: "The Water Environment Restoration Fund provides an amazing opportunity to secure support and funding to improve the rivers, streams, lochs, and coastal waters for you and future generations.
"As well as benefiting the environment and local communities, the work being carried out in these projects will contribute towards delivering the river basin management plans, which will improve lochs and rivers across Scotland.
"We encourage any organisation with a project they feel would be suitable to apply for funding as soon as they can. The fund is open to a wide range of interest groups, including community groups, fishery trusts, environmental charities and landowners."
More information and access to the application form is available from the SEPA website, at www.sepa.org.uk