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Environment minister, Michael Meacher today relaunched the£4.2m environmental ...
Environment minister, Michael Meacher today relaunched the£4.2m environmental

action fund, which will focus on enhancing biodiversity, raising

environmental awareness and promoting innovative solutions to

sustainable development challenges.

The department for environment, food and rural affairs is inviting

applications from voluntary groups throughout England for grant from

the fund to support core work for up to three years from 2002-03.

Announcing the grant, Michael Meacher said:

'We have conducted a thorough review of the fund, consulting

successful and unsuccessful applicants. Those who responded by and

large felt that it should try to do fewer things better, but had

varying views on what to include and what to leave out. I have

decided to focus the fund on two key areas where it can most make a


'The first is understanding and awareness of sustainable development.

This includes projects to promote sustainable development education

and awareness raising amongst individuals and communities. Under this

heading we will also be looking for projects which help to generate

innovative ideas for policies and practical action to overcome

barriers to sustainable development, in particular in the areas of

climate change, waste and resource productivity. The second is

strategic work, in both urban and rural areas, to conserve and

enhance biodiversity, including landscape and marine conservation

through the development and implementation of national and local

biodiversity action plans. This work should engage and involve local

communities wherever possible. I know voluntary groups undertaking

these activities face particular difficulties securing core funding

and I look forward to innovative applications from this sector across

the country.

'I am also providing additional information on government and other

sources of grant to benefit both applicants and those for whom these

grants are not appropriate.'


1. The environmental action fund (EAF) helps voluntary groups in

England to promote the government's sustainable development

strategy by offering grant for core activities that (i) promote

understanding and awareness of sustainable development (ii) take

forward species and habitat biodiversity. About two-thirds of the

available funds are expected to be allocated to the first area and

a third to the second, subject to sufficient high quality

applications coming forward. Grants will be from£25,000 to

£250,000 for each of up to three years. Ministers intend to support

work that takes into account the needs of both urban and rural

areas and that shows evidence of involving the communities in the

areas it serves.

2. Understanding and awareness funding will include education for

sustainable development: the learning needed if individuals,

communities and other groups are to develop the knowledge, values

and skills they need to participate in decisions about the way they

do things, individually and collectively, both locally and

globally, that will maintain and improve our quality of life and

the quality of life of generations to come. Grant applicants need

to show whose knowledge, values and skills they will develop, how

they will develop them, and how they will know whether they have

been successful.

3. This strand of work will also support voluntary groups carrying

out work that develops innovative ideas about ways to remove

barriers to sustainable development, in particular in the areas of

climate change, resource productivity and waste. Work with an urban

or a rural focus is eligible. Grant applicants will need to show

how their work will make a real contribution to new thinking, and

how they will establish the quality of that contribution.

4. Biodiversity funding assists voluntary groups with core funding

to carry out strategic activities to meet the government's

objective of conserving and improving England's biodiversity.

Biodiversity is the richness and variety of plants, birds, animals,

fish and insects that exist. It concerns the whole variety of

living things, from the common place to the greatly endangered, and

the habitats that support them. People's interaction with

biodiversity shows whether our social and economic development is

sustainable. Ministers anticipate that much of this funding will

support the development and implementation of national and local

biodiversity action plans; that it will support marine as well and

land-based activities; and that it will cover urban as well as

rural areas. Grant applicants need to show how their activities

would help implement national and/or local biodiversity action

plans or promote engagement of people in the conservation of

biodiversity at the national and/or local level, and how they will

know whether they have been successful. It is not intended to

support landscape improvement work that is eligible for other

sources of funding or that does not offer significant biodiversity

gains. (Details of the national and local biodiversity action plans

can be found here.

5. Application forms and guidance notes are available from Rosemary

Thurbon, Zone 6/G9, Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E

6DE. Telephone 020 7944 6553, fax 020 7944 6559, e-mail, and on the Internet here.

Forms will be sent out automatically to previous applicants and

others who have asked to go on the EAF database. Completed forms

must be returned to the address shown on the papers by 9 November

2001. The fund also publishes an annual report, six-monthly

magazine and good practice guide - copies of which are available,

free of charge, from the contact given above.

6. In October 2000 the government commissioned Quadrangle

Consulting to carry out a review of the EAF, consultinga range of

grant applicants, recipients and other stakeholders. The contract's

objectives were

a) to review the effectiveness with which the£4m per year of the

EAF is spent on promoting sustainable living in England, and;

b) to review the aims, terms, conditions and administration of

these financial resources and, if appropriate, make recommendations

for change.

The review document has been published here, and single hard

copies are available free of charge at the above address.

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