Looking out for innovation

Rachel Pickering – Conservation Officer

I am really looking forward to the 31 July this year as that is the deadline for our new Environmental Innovation Fund. This is a bit of a mouthful but it was hard to come up with a really simple name that summed up what we want to achieve with this new Fund. It was also hard to find examples of projects we are hoping to support because, with a bit of luck, they will be something so new and inspirational that I’ve never heard of them before!

In one sentence the Fund aims to encourage new thinking which benefits the environment as well as the local economy and/or the local community.

We are looking for innovative projects that contribute to at least one of the following objectives:

  • Renewable energy or energy efficiency e.g. the development of a low visual impact wind turbine
  • Utilising natural resources in a sustainable manner e.g. rainwater harvesting or recycling projects
  • Conserve the natural environment and cultural heritage, including skill development, e.g. the local restoration of rare arable plants

One of the biggest challenges this year will be to find large scale capital projects (they have to be over £10,000 total costs) by the end of July which will be able to deliver in the 7 month period between September 2013 and March 2014. However, we are hoping that this new Fund will be available in future years and that the application window for next year will be January to March to allow a full year for businesses to complete their projects. So, if you have an idea that isn’t quite ready yet, keep watching the National Park Authority’s website!

The best example I could find from projects that the National Park’s previous Sustainable Development Fund has supported in the past and which can act as an example of the sort of thing we’re looking for this time, is Econoplas. The company recycles plastic waste from RPvarious sources and makes a useful drainage material out of it. One of the best things about this is that they will take all types of plastic. I myself pay £2.00 a month for the privilege of filling a bin bag full of household plastics which I bring to work to join colleagues’ similar bin bags to be collected for recycling by Econoplas.

Over the past few weeks since the application window opened I have already had interesting enquiries from potential new projects. If you have a project that you are thinking about and would like to discuss please contact me on 01439 772700 or conservation@northyorkmoors.org.uk.

All the details, including a simple application form and the explanatory guidelines, can be found on our website: http://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/looking-after/advice-and-grants.

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