Defra Launches Natural Flood Management Programme for England

A £25 million programme for projects in England that harness natural processes to reduce the risk of flooding is inviting applications.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a £25 million Natural Flood Management Programme for England, to be administered by the Environment Agency. This new programme builds on the natural flood management pilot programme which ran until 2021.

The funding is intended to support natural flood management (NFM) schemes that use techniques such as planting trees and creating wetlands to slow and store water to reduce the risk of flooding. The programme additionally aims to:

  • Accelerate new and existing opportunities for NFM delivery and financing.
  • Further improve evidence of NFM by filling knowledge gaps.
  • Provide wider benefits to the environment, nature and society.

Applications will be accepted from lead applicants including companies, partnerships or any other legal entity. Likely lead applicants include:

  • Risk management authorities.
  • Farmers, land managers and landowners.
  • Third sector organisations including environmental Non-Governmental Organisations – for example, river trusts and wildlife trusts.
  • Businesses.
  • Community groups.
  • Catchment partnerships.

The lead applicant must be based in England, but any partners and benefits of the project can extend into Wales or Scotland. Partnership applications, with a lead applicant (such as a third sector organisation or RMA) coordinating delivery on the ground across multiple sites and landowners, are encouraged.

The Environment Agency expects the programme to fund around 100 projects of varying size and cost. It is anticipated that standalone projects will be granted funding of approximately £200,000 and packages of projects will be granted funding of up to £2.5 million.

The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 10 November 2023.

(This report was the subject of a GRANTfinder Newsflash.)