The Environment Fund is administered by DAERA to support projects which will help deliver key environmental outcomes across Northern Ireland.

For Information on the 2019-2023 Environment Fund, click here.

The Fund contributes to 2 Environmental Impact Priority areas:

  • Nature and Climate Recovery: Building Ecological and Climate Resilience
  • Connecting People with the Environment

The DAERA Environment Fund 2023 - 2028 Funding Priorities can be downloaded below. Please click on the tabs on the right for further information. This fund supersedes the previous DAERA Environment Fund 2019-23.

General Information

The Environment Fund is always oversubscribed. Successful projects will be those which, alongside existing and other proposed activity, will most effectively help to achieve the priority areas we have identified. These are outlined on this web site and in the Environment Fund 2023-28 Overarching Criteria & Environmental Impact Priorities.

There are 3 Strands to the Environment Fund:

  1. Multi-year Strategic Environment Fund
  2. Strand 2 Strategic Strand including Land Purchase and new projects levering significant match funding
  3. Environmental Challenge Competition

Multi-year Strategic Environment Fund

The Strategic Environment Fund programme is now

The Environment Fund 2023 - 2028 Strategic Strand budget is limited. For the Environment Fund 2023-2028 Strategic Strand DAERA will not provide funding of less than £25,000 (so the minimum total cost of a project is £30,000). There is no maximum total cost of a project, although we expect competition for funding to be strong and will be considering Value for Money in our assessment of applications.

The is no maximum total cost of a project, although we expect competition for funding to be strong and will be considering Value for Money in our assessment of applications.

You are expected to secure match funding for your project. We will not normally support projects at above 80%** of the project costs. Your match funding may be secured from a variety of sources such as other grants, membership fees, donations or volunteer support.

The following are indications of our normal maximum funding levels:

  • Up to 80 % of biodiversity project costs
  • Up to 50 % for Council projects

** A higher percentage of DAERA funding, available under competitions for eligible project costs, may be considered in exceptional or compelling circumstances.

The Overarching Criteria is: Multiple grant applications may be submitted by not for profit organisations or councils which will deliver measurable key environmental outcomes at a Northern Ireland wide scale, sub-regional scale, river catchment scale, on or related to a designated site, or on EMFG owned/managed natural environment sites.

Applicants wishing to apply for the Strategic Environment Fund should read all of the Environment Fund 2023-28 Guidance Notes Part 1 and Guidance Notes Part 2 documents before beginning to fill in the application form.

Bodies can submit multiple applications as a Lead Applicant. An application may include a number of distinct outcomes. Applicants can also receive funding as a partner helping to deliver specific outcomes identified in another organisation’s application. Where it is proposed that your organisation may also receive Environment Fund funding from another organisation that is applying as a Lead Applicant, this must be indicated in both your application and the relevant other application/s.

The Environment Fund grant budget is limited and this should be recognised when you are applying for this funding.

DAERA will endeavour to give all projects independent advice in a fair and transparent way. Any advice that we give on these projects does not constitute support in principle for the project. Projects will be assessed on their merits.

We will not consider applications for funding for projects which contain or focus on any of the following:

  • Delivery of outcomes outside Northern Ireland
  • Individuals who are not part of a constituted not for profit organisation.
  • Funding for commercial or profit-making organisations
  • Funding which might constitute State Aid.
  • The costs of actions and associated management/staff costs that is targeted by other funding programmes (where these intend to provide adequate funds to deliver the outcomes) such as the Environmental Farming Scheme, Woodland Grant schemes, and national and European grants.
  • Work to manage the built environment or man-made (designed) landscapes, such as historic parks and demesnes.
  • Schemes where work has been completed.
  • Personal study or the pursuit of individual academic or professional qualifications.
  • Research and Development except where this is an integral part of the wider project.

How to apply for the Strategic Strand

  1. The following documents are available to download on this website:
  2. Read the Environment Fund 2023-28 Guidance Notes (Parts 1 & 2) and Environment Fund 2023-28 Overarching Criteria & Environmental Impact Priorities documents thoroughly to decide if the EF is suitable for your project.
  3. Read the indicative Environment Fund 2023-28 Standard Terms and Conditions of Offer which outline many of the conditions you will need to comply with if you are awarded funding. You will need to consider the actions you will need to undertake to deliver on these considerations and any associated costs as part of your application;
  4. Discuss your project proposal with a relevant member of DAERA staff. Contact details can be provided by Grant Team staff who can be contacted by email on or on 028 9056 9610.
  5. Referring to the Environment Fund 2023-28 Guidance Notes Parts 1 & 2, complete the Environment Fund 2023-28 Application Form.
  6. Submit the Environment Fund 2023-28 Application Form and any required accompanying information by e-mail to by the advertised closing date.
  7. DAERA reserves the right to make an offer of funding that is different from the details or financial amounts that are set out in the applications.

If you have a query please contact the Grant Team:


DAERA Environment Fund
Klondyke Building, 2nd Floor
Cromac Avenue, Gasworks Business Park
Lower Ormeau Road, Malone Lower
Belfast BT7 2JA

Tel: 028 9056 9610

Strand 2 Strategic Strand including Land Purchase and new projects levering significant match funding

When sufficient budget may be available, In-year funding applications may be considered for high priority projects which could not have foreseeably applied to the Strategic Fund in 2023. Applications for these grants can be submitted by eligible organisations at any time after advice is sought from the Grant Team. The key areas where this funding may be considered include:

  • Projects which would lever significant match funding

Projects which meet the priorities which require a small element of match funding to lever funds from other bodies such as Heritage Lottery Fund.

  • Land purchase

Grants for land purchase under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order may be considered for projects that will deliver significant conservation or access benefits. The applicant must show that:

  • The resource or feature cannot be effectively protected, enhanced or created by other more cost-effective means.
  • Their constitution enables them to buy and manage land, and provide public access where applicable and the proposal is within the applicant organisation’s strategic land policy priorities for land purchase and management;
  • They have the ability (resources and experience) to manage the site long term for conservation or access purposes.

If you propose applying for an Environment Fund In-year grant you MUST contact the Grant Team to discuss any possible application. If it is agreed that an application for in-year funding might be appropriate, the current electronic Application Form and Guidance Notes will be emailed to you for completion.

Environmental Challenge Competitions

When sufficient budget may be available, and the Department identifies emerging priority areas of work, focussed Environmental Challenge Competitions may be run to deliver these.

Further details will appear here when any future competition is launched.

Contact Us

General grant queries:

For information about the Environment Fund please contact a member of the team:

Grant Team Leader:
Gerard O’Neill
T: 02890 569598
E: gerard.o'
Financial queries:
Peter Turner
T: 02890 569610
Terrestrial and Outdoor Recreation queries:
Maia Taylor
T: 02890 569621


Jeannine McCool
T: 02890 569232
Liam Donnelly
T: 02890 524064
Peatland queries:
Eimear Reeve
T: 02890 569754
Marine queries:
Liz Pothanikat
T: 02890 569421
Fresh Water queries:
River Basin Districts Team
T: 028 9263 3473

A Client Officer for each funded project will be allocated in the letter of offer.

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