Natural Flood Management uses natural processes to reduce the risk of flooding. These measures protect, restore, and mimic the natural functions of catchments, floodplains and the coast to slow and store water and dissipate wave energy
Apply by 10 November 2023.
What is the Natural Flood Management Programme?
In September 2023, the government announced £25 million funding for improving flood resilience through a new Natural Flood Management (NFM) programme. The Environment Agency is leading the management of this programme.
This programme encourages people and places to make greater use of nature-based solutions, to enhance flood and coast resilience and nature recovery. The NFM programme will help meet the aims of the:
- government’s policy statement on flooding and coastal erosion
- national Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England and the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy Roadmap to 2026
- government’s Environmental Improvement Plan
What are the aims of the programme?
The NFM programme aims to:
- reduce local flood risk using NFM
- provide wider benefits to the environment, nature and society
- accelerate new and existing opportunities for NFM delivery and financing
- further improve evidence of NFM by filling knowledge gaps
Evidence and learning about NFM delivery, and its effectiveness, has grown significantly over recent years through a number of initiatives. Some benefits that this NFW programme will provide, is that it aims to improve understanding of:
- the flood risk reduction benefits of different types of NFM
- how different NFM measures can best work together to maximise flood risk benefits
- how effective NFM is at different spatial scales
- the effectiveness of NFM in different types of geography, geology and land uses
- the carbon sequestration benefits of NFM
- the water quality benefits of NFM
- the benefits of NFM to ecology and biodiversity
Who can apply?
Any legal person or other legal entity can apply as the lead applicant.
Likely lead applicants include:
- flood risk management authorities (RMAs)
- farmers, land managers and landowners
- third sector organisations including environmental Non-Governmental Organisations – for example river trusts and wildlife trusts
- community groups
- catchment partnerships
The lead applicant needs to be based in England, but any partners and benefits of the project can extend into Wales or Scotland.
Partnership applications are encouraged, with a lead applicant coordinating delivery on the ground across multiple sites and landowners.
Natural solutions can provide wider benefits including:
- enhancing habitats and biodiversity
- improving water quality and availability of drinking water
- carbon capture
- boosting health and wellbeing
What are the requirements?
To receive funding a project must:
- provide one or more eligible NFM measures
- demonstrate a flood risk benefit in England
- provide value for money
- be consistent with existing flood and coast plans – for example local flood risk management strategies, flood risk management plans and shoreline management plans
- undertake project monitoring in compliance with our NFM Programme Monitoring Requirements
- have maintenance plans in place
Projects that carry out one or more of the NFM measures listed below, are sought. These can be in either rural, urban, or sub-urban settings.
- Soil and land management
- River and floodplain management
- Woodland management
- Run-off management
- Coast and estuary management
What can I apply for?
You can apply for one standalone project or a package of inter-linked projects across a catchment or along a coast.
Each project must include one or more eligible NFM measures.
The £25 million programme is expected to fund around 100 projects of varying size and cost.
However, standalone projects are anticipated to be around £200k and packages of projects to be up to £2.5m.
Projects need to be value for money and demonstrate a flood risk benefit.
All projects should deliver flooding benefits in England.
To demonstrate a flood risk benefit, NFM measures will need to be located near to a place at risk of flooding.
Funding of the programme?
Costs will be funded by the £25 million NFM grant in aid.
Once the Expressions Of Interest (EOI) are assessed, it will then be decided how much funding will be allocated each project or package of projects. This will be informed by the costs provided in your EOI.
EOIs should assume that the programme will pay for the following project costs:
- project management
- monitoring and capital costs
- it will not pay for future and on-going maintenance
- Stage 1 – develop your Expression Of Interest (EOI), this stage will remain open for 7 weeks from 22 September 2023 to 10 November 2023.
- Stage 2 – assessment, this stage is likely to last approximately 8 weeks from early November 2023 to early January 2023.
- Stage 3 – announcement, a public announcement of the successful projects is expected to be announced by the Government in early 2024.
- Stage 4 – project development, this stage is likely to last approximately 8 months from February 2024 to September 2024.
- Stage 5 – project implementation, this stage is likely to last approximately 2 ½ years from October 2024 to March 2027.
There will be a requirement for projects to report regularly on progress throughout this time, participants and their partners are expected to share knowledge and learning.
How can I apply?
Read the NFM programme guidance.
Please send your completed EOI form to NFM_ Programme@environment-agency.gov.uk by 10 November 2023.
Email NFM_Programme@environment-agency.gov.uk to get your application pack.
More about this funding opportunity
Applications close 10 November 2023