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Natural Flood Management Project Presents a New Collaborative Approach to Green Finance

Natural Flood Management Project Presents a New Collaborative Approach to Green Finance

Last Monday (26th October), we were pleased to host a virtual visit of sites involved in our Wyre Natural Flood Management (NFM) Investment Readiness project, an initiative which we believe can lead the way in green finance. The online event was attended by key partners and stakeholders, including Environment Agency Chair Emma Howard Boyd.

Delivered by The Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, Wyre Rivers Trust, United Utilities, Triodos Bank, Co-op Insurance and FloodRE, with funding from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Wyre NFM Investment Readiness project investigates funding opportunities for implementing NFM measures along the River Wyre and its tributaries. It was one of the first schemes to receive grant funding to encourage sustainable private sector investment for the benefit of the local community and the environment.

The use of natural flood management, including the building of leaky dams, the creation of bog, and the rewetting of peat, on 70 hectares of the River Wyre catchment is aimed at reducing the frequency of flooding for a large number of properties in Churchtown, Lancashire.

Organised as a virtual event due to current government restrictions in the North West, last week’s virtual visit included a video tour of the project sites to demonstrate some of the works being planned, and was an opportunity to update on the progress and future of the project.

Watch this video, hosted by Rivers Trust Project Manager Dan Turner, to find out more.

The funding for this project allows our partners to develop a financial instrument that would allow upfront investment from the private sector to be reimbursed by the beneficiaries of a healthier environment. We hope that it will serve as an exemplar for developing similar green finance models which can be implemented on a national scale.

Reflecting on the event, Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: “The scale of future environmental challenges means we must collaborate with partners and collectively take responsibility for protecting, improving and valuing our shared environment.

“We hope that the Wyre NFM project demonstrates the commercial viability of such projects to the investment community. We will then work with others in the finance sector to catalyse the scaling up of further similar projects both in the UK and around the world.”

Dan Turner, Project Manager at The Rivers Trust, said: “Upfront capital investment is one of the major barriers preventing the uptake of Natural Flood Management. The Rivers Trust hopes that this ground breaking project will help to provide a mechanism to finance and implement nature based solutions at the scale and pace which is desperately required.”

Tom Myerscough, General Manager of Wyre Rivers Trust, said: “The Wyre NFM investment readiness project offers an excellent opportunity to deliver natural flood management measures at a scale and pace which is required to make a difference. In the face of climate change and ever more extreme weather patterns, it is vital that we deliver measures across the Wyre catchment, that will reduce flooding, increase catchment resilience to both flood and drought and deliver a wide range of other benefits for local ecosystems. In order to deliver such an ambitious catchment restoration strategy, it is crucial that we are able to access considerable investment from green finance.”

Andy Brown, Flood Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, added: “We’re as committed as ever to protecting and enhancing our environment, but if we are going to become the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it, we must do more to improve and protect the environment by being ambitious and working in bigger partnerships for maximum impact. We all need to value and protect the environment, and the Environment Agency has a duty to lead the way by attracting more investment into green projects.”

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