Pioneering program aims to inject £ 1 billion into protecting Scotland’s natural environment

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A PIONEERING offer to unlock £ 1bn of investment has been launched with the aim of saving Scotland’s world-famous landscape and strengthening the natural environment.

Experts said the Scottish Conservation Finance Project would help protect habitats at risk.

Meanwhile, a network of new urban woodlots and green spaces will be created across the country as part of plans to transform the way environmental projects are financed.

The program aims to encourage public bodies, non-profit organizations and private businesses to invest in Scotland’s natural assets, for example by planting native forests or restoring oyster reefs.

In return, advanced funding models will ensure that they receive a cash return over a period of time.

For example, home builders and insurers could pay for planting forests and restoring wetlands to reduce the risk of flooding and save money in the long run.

Jo Pike, deputy managing director of the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), said there was “a growing awareness among investors that investing in nature-based solutions can help us solve some of the biggest problems that we have”.

She said the program was at the “forefront” of global ideas on how to tackle environmental threats, adding: “It is probably more likely to be successful than at any time in the past, but it is more urgent. than at any time in the past. ”

Ms Pike said there was a “direct parallel” to the Forest Resilience Bond, a US program that uses private capital to finance forest restoration – protecting water supplies and reducing the risk of devastating forest fires. such as those seen in California last year.

The Scottish Conservation Finance Project is led by SWT and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and launched this month.

Terry A’Hearn, Managing Director of SEPA, said the program was “an exciting opportunity to bring together the right people to take on this challenge”.

Charlotte Wright, Managing Director of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said Scotland’s natural environment was “world famous”, with conservation investments “crucial”.


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