The official launch of the Wyre Natural Flood Management (NFM) Investment Readiness project was was attended on Tuesday 31st May by project partners and funders, as well as by Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency. It included a visit to the Upper Wyre Catchment, adjacent to one of the sites set to receive funding to deliver nature improvements. The visit was timed to to mark the announcement of the second round of projects to benefit from the pioneering Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund, for which the Wyre NFM project has acted as a successful pilot.
This project is the first to use a new green investment financial model, which will see multiple beneficiary organisations repay the upfront investment through the sale of ecosystem services. It is also the first environmental project eligible for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR).
Mark Lloyd, CEO of The Rivers Trust, said: “I’m extremely proud to see this innovative project come to fruition. Nature-based solutions are a vital part of our collective arsenal to restore our natural environment and increase climate resilience, and I’m delighted that The Rivers Trust is leading the way, working in cross-sector partnerships to find sustainable funding models to implement them at scale.”
The money raised in the project will be used to deliver over 1,000 highly targeted NFM measures over nine years:
- Wetland creation - temporarily storing water: this could include leaky dams, earth bunds, bunded hedgerows, peatland restoration, floodplain reconnection etc.
- Grassland creation i.e. increasing catchment roughness to help slow overland flow. This could include land use change (intensive grassland to rough pasture), riparian buffer strips etc.
- Woodland Creation - to intercept and transpire water. This could include large native woodland blocks or riparian tree planting.
Farmers and landowners in the local area will receive grants to host and maintain these nature interventions. The measures are designed to reduce the maximum water volume of a flood (peak flood level) and/or delay the arrival of the flood peak downstream by emulating or restoring the natural functions of a river catchment. As well as protecting homes and businesses downstream, such NFM interventions can boost biodiversity, increase resilience to climate change and improve water quality..
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency and interim Chair of the Green Finance Institute, said: “The Wyre Rivers Trust and this project, with support from Triodos Bank UK and the Esme Fairbairn Foundation, has been a trailblazer in securing private investment for nature-based solutions to tackle the impacts of climate change. The landowners should also be recognised for their pioneering approach in embracing a new way of working and using nature capital.
“This project and the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund is leading the way in showing how private investment in nature can be achieved, including by providing long-term returns through costs avoided from a reduction in flood risk, such as here where communities will benefit downstream in Churchtown, which were impacted during Storm Desmond.”
Photo left to right: Jonathan Kassian, FloodRe / Daniel Barwick, Defra / Neil Davies, EA / Keith Ashcroft, EA / Alistair Malty, Woodland Trust / Tom Myerscough, Wyre Rivers / Jo Harrison, United Utilies / Mark Lloyd, chief exec Rivers Trust / Dame Caroline Mason, Esmee Fairburn Foundation and EA board member / Adrian Lythgo, Lance RFCC / Emma Howard Boyd / Jonathon Airton, from UU / Whitni Thomas, Triodos Bank / Dan Turner, The Rivers Trust
Find out more about this landmark project.
New opportunities to invest in nature as The Rivers Trust receives £180,000 in funding
The Rivers Trust has been awarded more than £180,000 of funding to unlock new opportunities to unlock substantial green finance investment in improving rivers and their catchment areas. A further six projects led by local Rivers Trusts will also benefit from the scheme.