Grants to help support a wide range of environmental improvement projects have been given to communities across Scotland.
The money will enable local people to take a hands-on approach to improving their local environment.
Removing dangerous invasive plant species along riverbanks, installing eco-friendly electric vehicle charge points, helping fish to migrate upriver more easily, and planting seagrass to help marine life are just some of the initiatives that will benefit from the Crown Estate Scotland grants.
The Environment Grants form part of the £970,000 Sustainable Communities Fund, established in 2020 by Crown Estate Scotland to support local regeneration and sustainable development.
The latest successful Environment Grant recipients are:
Allan Water Angling Improvement Association, Stirlingshire. Help to remove a range of non-native invasive species, including Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed, Himalayan balsalm and American skunk cabbage.
Lecht Ski Company, Cairngorms. Installation of two water bottle refilling stations. This will help reduce levels of plastic waste by encouraging people to refill their own reusable bottles.
Port Bannatyne Marina, Bute. A new pump-out station will help protect the environment by enabling boat owners to dispose of on-board water from their tanks responsibly.
Dalbeattie Angling Association, Dumfries & Galloway. Removal of giant hogweed along the Urr Water.
Stonehaven and District Angling Association, Aberdeenshire. Removal of the Dam Dykes Weir obstruction. This will allow fish – including salmon, sea trout, eels, lamprey and brown trout – to migrate up the Rover Cowie.
Seven Sisters, Colintraive North & Colintraive Church Mooring Associations, Argyll. Installation of two charging points for electric vehicles, which will be available for public use.
‘Dive & Sea the Hebrides’, Skye. A new biodiesel boat engine for this small tourism business which allows visitors to explore ocean waters first-hand.
European Marine Energy Centre, various locations. Grant will allow for information boards to be erected at five sites which test wave and tidal devices.
RSPB Scotland, Mersehead Reserve, Dumfries & Galloway. New litter bins and equipment for community beach cleans.
Craignish Mooring Association, Argyll. Community-led seagrass planting across 1,000sqm will help ‘seawilding’ efforts and support a wide range of organisms.
The Environment Grants - of between £5,000 and £20,000 - are available to Crown Estate Scotland tenants for projects which can deliver demonstrable environmental benefits within 18 months of funds being given.
Along with the Community Capacity Grants programme – open to all communities within five miles of Scotland’s coastline, or situated within one of Crown Estate Scotland’s four rural estates – the Sustainable Communities Fund is set to deliver close to £1m to communities across Scotland by 2023.
Improved bird habitat along the banks of the River Tay is one project to have already benefitted from the Environmental Grants fund. Working in partnership with RSPB Scotland, work to improve the extensive reed beds has created a rich ecosystem for a range of birdlife.
Vicky Turnbull, RSPB Scotland’s Tay Reedbeds site manager said: “Our priority species at Tay Reedbeds are bearded tits, marsh harriers and water rails. Thanks to the funding we have received from Crown Estate Scotland, we have together created a much improved and more diverse habitat that will make finding food and nesting places much easier for them. Hopefully over the coming years we will see more of these incredible birds thriving here.”
A short film showcasing the fascinating work along the River Tay can be viewed here.
Annie Breaden, Head of Policy for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “These latest awards demonstrate the practical and ingenious ways people across Scotland are identifying and tackling the challenges they want addressed.
“These grants from Crown Estate Scotland will help support an incredibly wide range of important and positive projects, which will have a big impact when it comes to improving and protecting Scotland’s environment.”
Applications for the next round of the Sustainable Communities Fund will open in August 2022.