SMEEF receives £500,000 to enhance Scotland’s coasts and seas
The Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF) has received £500,000 from the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund to transform the health of Scotland’s coasts and seas.
Now, NatureScot and partners are asking marine businesses and the larger industry to contribute to this ongoing green finance initiative to support projects that will help to ensure that our coasts and seas are healthy, productive and rich in nature.
The fund accepts voluntary donations from a range of marine users and will award grants to marine environmental enhancement projects. SMEEF has been established by NatureScot, the Scottish Government and Crown Estate Scotland with the support of Scottish environmental groups including Scottish Wildlife Trust and RSPB Scotland and funding from the offshore wind energy sector.
Today, the fund is formally open for donations and expressions of interest for grants. All marine businesses are being encouraged to come forward and support the work of SMEEF with donations.
Launching the fund on a visit to Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve in East Lothian, environment minister Mairi McAllan, said: “Tackling the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss is a truly national endeavour which will require the collective effort of governments, businesses and our whole society to deliver the change needed.
“That is why we are keen to support this new and innovative approach to funding projects that enhance Scotland’s marine environment, bringing together the collective resources of the public sector and business to deliver truly transformative change.
“The Scottish Government is committed to taking forward a step change in marine protection – ensuring that our seas are clean, healthy, safe, productive and diverse, and managed to meet the long term needs of nature and people. Our £65 million Nature Restoration Fund is making an important contribution to meeting our climate targets and restoring Scotland’s marine and terrestrial environment, including through a contribution of £500,000 to SMEEF to help begin its vital work.”
Francesca Osowska, NatureScot’s chief executive, added: “Our future depends on tackling the nature crisis and that includes our coasts and seas. This important new fund will support the recovery and enhancement of our rich marine environment, helping to ensure that Scotland’s spectacular coasts and seas are healthy, resilient and productive for future generations.
“Today, we are launching this exciting new green finance initiative with £500,000 to start building the momentum for this important work. But this needs to be a long-term and cooperative approach. So we encourage businesses which benefit and depend on Scotland’s healthy seas and coasts to come forward and contribute to the fund.”
Simon Hodge, chief executive of Crown Estate Scotland, added: “This is a great opportunity for a joined-up approach to protecting and improving our marine environment. I want to encourage those involved with marine activity to commit to investing in joint action for maximum benefit. Crown Estate Scotland is pleased to be supporting SMEEF, and to be part of this collaborative effort to look after our seas and coastline.”
SMEEF is managed by NatureScot, working closely with Marine Scotland and Crown Estate Scotland. The donations will be assessed by an Ethical Contributions Board and the awards will be evaluated by a Grants Panel.