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Green Infrastructure Fund

Green Infrastructure Fund

Please note that the Green Infrastructure Fund is currently closed to new applicants.

The Green Infrastructure Fund Team met with colleagues from Scottish Government in March 2018 to discuss a future funding round for the Green Infrastructure Fund, which supports capital infrastructure projects.  This requires Scottish Natural Heritage to apply for a further tranche of funding as part of Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme.  An application is being prepared and was submitted in the Spring.  This will allow us to reopen the Fund for new applications during 2018/19.  At this stage, our expectation is that we will formally launch a new funding round in late summer, with applications to be submitted by the end of November and funding decisions announced by end March 2019.

Although the funding round will not reopen for several months, we are happy to discuss and advise on potential projects in the meantime. Please contact, and one of our Project & Funding Officers will be in touch. 

Phase 1 of the Green Infrastructure Fund (GIF) was launched in early 2016, with two funding rounds up to January 2017. It provides over £7 million of ERDF funding through a competitive selection process. With match funding, this should deliver over £15 million worth of green infrastructure projects in our cities and larger towns.

It is primarily a capital fund aimed at improvements to green infrastructure. The aim is to deliver a minimum of 15 substantial projects across Scotland that improve or create at least 140 hectares of urban green infrastructure by 2023.

To receive funding, applications must be of a strategic scale with a significant impact. The main eligibility criteria for application are as follows:

  • Projects must be located in population areas of 10,000 or more, and in the 20% most deprived areas according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.

  • The total eligible project costs must be a minimum of £650,000.

  • Projects must be seeking an ERDF grant of a minimum of £250,000.

  • The maximum threshold for grant is 40% for projects in the Lowland and Uplands (LUPS) and 50% for projects in Highlands and Islands (H&I).

  • The proposed project work is stand alone and is new in some way.

Green Infrastructure projects must:

  • improve the quality and accessibility of greenspace through creation of new, additional functionality in existing or new natural and semi-natural habitats; and/or

  • improve the environmental quality and performance or increase provision of ecosystem services through creating or retrofitting urban greening, particularly where water and urban climate management benefits are integrated and links between greenspaces are established or re-created; and/ or

  • support greater participation in use or management of greenspace, increase physical activity, volunteering or understanding of nature among a more diverse range of the population by providing new accessibility to greenspace, developing a wider range of greenspace uses, or supporting participation, involvement and promotion activities; and/or

  • increase economic attractiveness and health benefits by reducing the impact of derelict land and increasing opportunities for active recreation; and

  • reduce inequalities by supporting disadvantaged groups to benefit from greenspace and green infrastructure by targeted improvements, activities and engagement.

Examples of Activity

  • Create accessible new multifunctional greenspaces in areas of identified deficiency;

  • Improve public greenspaces identified as being of poor quality;

  • Use integrated habitat networks to bring nature into urban areas, improving ecosystem function, restoring habitats and creating wildlife corridors;

  • Enhance or restore the biodiversity of public parks or nature reserves as part of improving a network;

  • Develop green corridors that connect habitats within the urban area and from urban to peri-urban areas;

  • Urban greening of streets, including planting street trees to provide shade and cooling, improve ambient air quality, reduce the rate of run-off, and link greenspaces;

  • Planting street trees and vegetation, greening buildings;

  • Surface water management, river restoration and mitigation of flood risk through naturalised sustainable urban drainage schemes that provide treatment of surface water run-off and help manage urban diffuse pollution, and improvements to the permeability of the public environment e.g. green roofs, green walls, rain gardens, ponds, swales;

  • Restore water courses, e.g. re-naturalise river corridors to improve the physical habitat, amenity and biodiversity value;

  • Improve the quality and accessibility of green networks – e.g. greening links between publicly accessible greenspaces, e.g. creating incidental greenspaces, remediate and restore vacant and derelict land in urban and peri-urban areas to green end use;

  • Improve greenspace for exercise, health and well-being, active play facilities, promoting the use of greenspace for physical activity;

  • Local food production in urban areas e.g. allotments, community gardens, orchards;

Community engagement and involvement through events, volunteering and green skills training.

ESIF National Rules on Eligibility of Expenditure


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