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SNH confirms total 35,000 funding for environmental projects in Sutherland

21st December 2008

Environmental projects in Sutherland are set to benefit from a 20,000 SNH grant for the Sutherland Partnership which will oversee a new assistance fund.

The Sutherland Environmental Fund will operate over three years from spring 2009 with the themes of involvement and biodiversity.

SNH has also announced that a further 15,000 will be given to the Sutherland Partnership over three years to assist its management of projects such as the North West Highlands Geopark and the Sutherland Partnership Biodiversity Group.

The Sutherland Environmental Fund aims to encourage more people to become involved with their local environment and learn more about nature and how it adds to quality of life. It is also hoped to increase opportunities for children and adults to learn and care about nature through first-hand experience.

It will also encourage a rich and varied local wildlife by fostering actions which improve, protect and manage native species and habitats. And in particular the fund will support the aims and objectives set out in the Sutherland Local Biodiversity Action Plan and the United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan.

The maximum grant offered is 6,000 and while 100% grants can be obtained applicants must have an "in kind" or cash contribution equating to a minimum of 10% of the total project cost. Funding is available for voluntary, geographical or special interest based groups.

Land owners and land managers have grant opportunities under the Scotland Rural Development Programme (Rural Priorities).

Announcing the new funding SNH Area manager Lesley Cranna said: "SNH has been closely involved with the Sutherland Partnership since it was established and it has an excellent record for involvement in a wide range of environmental work. I am therefore delighted to announce that we will be continuing our support for the Partnership over the next three years and establishing the new Sutherland Environmental Fund under their management."

William Sutherland, chairman of the Sutherland Partnership Biodiversity Group and Sutherland Partnership manager, added: "SNH's grant offer is clearly a vote of confidence for the Sutherland Partnership and I am pleased that we will be able to work together to establish and run the new Sutherland Environmental Fund.

"This represents a great opportunity for communities within Sutherland and I look forward to formally launching the fund with SNH in the spring of next year. In the meantime, if anyone has any good ideas for projects at this stage, I would encourage them to contact me."

The funding was confirmed with the imminent launch of the new Highland LEADER scheme. The Sutherland Partnership intends to apply for matching LEADER funding
to make a total of 40,000 available for environmental projects.


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