Tuesday, 25 March 2008

£180,000 of sustainable grants available for Exmoor projects

The Exmoor Sustainable Development Fund is again open for business and a meeting on Thursday, March 27, of the independent grant advisory panel will consider 11 new proposals.
The panel, comprised of people who live and work across Exmoor and the surrounding area, will meet with the project applicants at Withypool Village Hall.
The projects being considered encompass a wide range of issues, from renewable energy installations and a strategy for making Exmoor National Park carbon neutral by 2016, to assessing the genetics of salmon in the River Exe, to support for the production and supply of local food.
Other applications cover community events and facilities as well as ecological research and education.
Further details of the applications and the meeting are available on www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or from local libraries in the Exmoor area.
The fund is administered by the national park authority with the funding provided by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Each year, £180,000 is available for projects which show innovation in addressing sustainable development within and around Exmoor National Park.
Since being launched in 2002, more than 130 projects have received SDF funds and have made Exmoor a more sustainable place to live in, work in, visit, and enjoy.
In December of last year, Defra announced that funding would be available for at least a further three years.
“Since reopening for applications we have been inundated with expressions of interest and applications, totalling over £627,000,” said Phil Cookson, the park authority’s sustainability and economy manager.
“In the past five years more than £1.1m has been spent improving Exmoor and people’s knowledge and pleasure and I wish these new projects the same successes.”
Dan James, who is succeeding Mr Cookson, said: “This is great news for Exmoor and reflects the pro-active nature of communities within and around the park in working towards a sustainable future for Exmoor.
“It also means that the panel members will have much debate when advising the national park authority on prioritising the limited funds.”
The authority continues to welcome expressions of interest from anyone with an innovative idea which will further the twin national park purposes of ‘conservation and enhancement of Exmoor’s special qualities’ and ‘public enjoyment and understanding of those special qualities’ in a sustainable manner.
Funding of between 50 per cent and 75 per cent of project costs can usually be considered.
For further details visit www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or contact Dan James on 01398 322234 or by emailing dtjames@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk.

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