Lucy Garrett l Palladium - Jul 14 2021
Partnering For Nature: Palladium and UK National Parks Secure Funding for Nature Restoration Projects

Credit: UK National Parks

In an exciting announcement, Palladium’s partnership with the UK’s National Parks has secured funding for its first three nature restoration pilots – a critical milestone on the path to restoring nature at scale across UK National Parks. These are part of wave of pilots that will be launched ahead of COP-26, the global climate change conference to be held in Glasgow in November 2021. Together Palladium and the National Parks aim to secure GBP 239 million necessary for nature restoration activities in National Parks by 2030.

Announced in April 2021, the partnership set out to develop new ways of securing both public and private funding for the National Park’s nature and natural resources. These first three pilot projects aim to prove that it is possible to design nature restoration models that provide a return on investment by monetising ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water quality improvement, habitat creation, and flood risk reduction.

With funding from a range of sources including the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund; and the National Lottery Heritage Horizons Fund, the first wave of pilot projects will produce valuable learnings and lessons for the replication and scaling of new business models that can restore nature at scale in the UK. These learnings will be shared across the National Park network and with other project developers.

The projects will generate revenue through the sale of carbon and biodiversity credits, natural flood management benefits, and through reduced water treatment costs.

Piloting New Restoration Models in England and Scotland

In England, Defra’s Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund is supporting two pilot projects. The first, in the North York Moors National Park, is a river catchment scale pilot over 10,500 hectares that will work with farmers in the Esk Valley to restore habitats and deliver natural flood risk mitigation, carbon sequestration and enhanced water quality outcomes.

“We are really excited to be working with Palladium and the Esk Valley farmers in leading work on proof of concept for public / private investment in nature-based solutions,” notes Dr Briony Fox, Director of Conservation at the North York Moors National Park Authority.

In New Forest National Park, the project will develop a business model to restore arable and neutral grasslands to woodland and mire, by generating valuable nitrate reduction outcomes, biodiversity net gain and carbon services which hold substantial financial potential.

“Securing the grant is great news. The pilot will help accelerate the development of markets for environmental services here in the Solent area and we are excited to be working with Palladium and partners,” adds Paul Walton, Head of Environment and Rural Economy at the New Forest National Park.

In Scotland, the National Lottery Heritage Horizons Fund is supporting a large-scale project in Cairngorms National Park. “The Cairngorms National Park Authority is looking forward to working with Palladium on this exciting project which has great potential to unlock investment in peatland restoration, biodiversity and flood management to meet the ambitious net-zero and biodiversity targets we have for the Park and for the wider Scottish targets,” notes Grant Moir, CEO of Cairngorms National Park Authority.

A part of that project will work with Palladium to pilot how blending public and private finance can deliver net zero targets, biodiversity targets, and provide a long-term revenue source for land managers and investors.

Next Steps for the Partnership

According to Andrew Sutherland, Palladium’s Director of Nature-based Solutions, pilots such as these are critical steps towards the future, “These types of pilots are going to be more important now than ever in helping to restore nature in the UK – particularly in leveraging much needed private finance and contributing towards building a natural capital market.”

“Conversations are taking place with a diverse range of companies who are also close to committing to support this new approach to nature restoration and we will announce more pilots before COP-26.” he adds.

These three critical pilots represent part of the first wave of projects that Palladium and National Parks UK are developing together. Over the coming months the partnership plans to extend this portfolio to include further National Parks in England, Scotland, and Wales.

Learn more about the partnership with UK National Parks and contact for more information.