Investing in Natural Capital

A £1 million fund has been launched by the HotSW LEP for local businesses and organisations to develop and finance natural capital projects that support the natural environment, whilst at the same time providing wider economic benefits.

The Natural Capital Demonstrator (NCD) Fund is available for capital expenditure on a loan basis. This funding approach has been designed to test a new way of financing the protection and enhancement of the area’s natural assets.

Natural capital is the sum of our ecosystems, species, freshwater, land, soils, minerals, air and our seas. These are all elements of nature that either directly or indirectly bring value to people and the country at large. They do this in many ways but chiefly by providing food, clean air and water, wildlife, energy, wood, recreation and protection from hazards.

The LEP is hoping the fund will be able to support a portfolio of projects that will deliver new methodologies towards natural capital that can be replicated in other areas and scaled up.

There is a two-stage process to apply for the fund. Initially, a short Expression of Interest must be submitted by April 8th. These will then be shortlisted and projects moving to the next stage may be able to apply for a share of £20,000 to help develop the full business case. The business case must be submitted by June 30th and the decision on the successful applications will be made in early September.

The fund aims to support the Heart of the South West’s clean growth priority and is aligned to the Government’s 25-year Environment Strategy, and Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.


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    David Ralph

    Chief Executive

    David Ralph started as Chief Executive of Heart of South West LEP at the beginning of June 2018. Previously, he had spent 5 years as CEO of the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEP from 2013 where he oversaw the development of the D2N2 Strategic Economic Plan and sector strategies, 3 Growth Deals with HM Government to deliver a £1billion capital investment programme, securing and implementing £200m ESIF programme, the Derby and Nottingham Enterprise Zone, the D2N2 Skills Deal and Time for Innovation programme, community fund and led the executive team to develop the HS2 East Midlands hub. He was also closely involved in the proposed North Midlands Devolution Deal and one of the key architects in establishing the Midlands Engine, chairing the officer steering group. Whilst in this role David was a NED of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone, and Marketing NG, the Outer Estates Foundation and a Governor of Nottingham College and on the advisory Board of Nottingham Business School.

    Before the East Midlands, David was CEO of the Have Gateway Partnership working closely with local stakeholders including the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich and BT Adadastral Park across Suffolk and Essex and prior to that was Chief Exec of the Barton Hill New Deal for Communities programme in Bristol and the Nelm Development Trust in Norwich.

    David is a keen sailor, walker and trail runner.