Pilot project setting sights on £2bn of private funding for nature

A PILOT project is expected to be launched soon, with the aim of testing to what extent £2bn of private sector funding could be unlocked, to help Scotland’s natural environment.

The Scottish Government agency, NatureScot, has signed memoranda of understanding with financial partners, with the funding already agreed, in principle, depending on the outcome of the pilot.

Says NatureScot, here: “£2 billion of investment in woodland could create around 185,000 hectares of native woodland and sequester 28 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the next 30 years.”

The financial partners are UK private bank Hampden & Co, investment managers Lombard Odier, and ‘global impact firm’, Palladium. The first two have agreed the in-principle funding, while Palladium will help with implementing the investment model.

NatureScot’s role is to advise on the design of the investment to make sure it delivers the ‘right’ outcomes.

Adds NatureScot: “The first pilot scheme will begin spring [this year]. It is centred on the Wild Heart Borders Forest Trust project in southern Scotland. 

“The initial scoping assessment, part-funded by NatureScot and South of Scotland Enterprise, has identified the potential for around 30,000 hectares of new native woodland in the heart of southern Scotland with the potential for between £200 and £300 million of private investment and around six million tonnes of carbon sequestration. 

“The next phase of work will involve developing the funding model further and engaging with land managers and communities to explore what might be possible and the many benefits that might accrue.”

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland