Environmental Challenge Competition - Water Quality Improvement Strand

An additional strand of the Environmental Challenge Competition has been launched with a closing date for applications of noon on Monday 31st August 2020 .

This is a grant competition known as the Water Quality Improvement Strand is for RESOURCE/PROGRAMME funding for projects to help people improve and to connect with the aquatic environment. The key areas for funding under the Water Quality Improvement strand are:

 Water Quality Actions:

• Creation of habitat

• Preparation of River restoration plans

• Fish passage improvement

• Riparian management 

• Pollution management / prevention measures

• Natural flood management measures

• Wetland creation to improve water quality/flooding resilience

Public education / awareness:

  • Community led awareness events with a water based theme
  • Local waterbody leaflet / signage/ guide development
  • Citizen science based river surveys
  • Training workshops
  • Local Pollution Prevention campaigns


  • The normal Terms and Conditions of grant for the Environment Fund can be found here https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/ef-indicative-standard-conditions-offer along with the Environment Fund Guidance Notes which may be useful to help you to complete some of the questions in the Application Form.
  • Payment of grant will be in arrears unless there are exceptional circumstances requiring a degree of payment upfront. 
  • Creation of buildings are not eligible.
  • There is no need to re-submit an application for projects that have already been identified for potential in-year funding in any offer you may have received under the 2019-22/23 Environment Fund Strategic Strand.

How to apply for the Environmental Challenge Competition 2020/21

Further information, including guidance notes and details of how you can apply for funding, can be found on the DAERA website at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/environment-fund

The following documents are available to download on this website:

Please read the Guidance notes and the strategic priorities thoroughly to decide if the Water Quality Improvement strand of the Environment Fund is suitable for your project.

3. Read the indicative EF Standard 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 these and any associated costs as part of your application;

4. Discuss your project proposal with your NIEA Catchment Officer. Contact details can be provided by Catchment Team staff who can be contacted by email RiverBasinPlanning@daera-ni.gov.uk

5. Complete the EF Challenge Competition Water Quality Improvement 2020/21 Application Form referring to the Guidance Notes.

6. Submit the application form to RiverBasinPlanning@daera-ni.gov.uk by Monday 31st August 2020.

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

How much can we offer?

The Water Quality Improvement strand of the Environment Fund budget is limited.

For the 2020/21 Environmental Challenge Competition the minimum overall project cost is £5,000. The maximum grant awarded will be £20,000, except in exceptional circumstances. The maximum amount of Government funding available under the competition will be 75% of eligible project costs.

Payment of grant will be in arrears unless there are exceptional circumstances requiring a degree of payment upfront. 

Applications may be refused or offered a lower level of funding if there is insufficient budget or there are concerns about value for money or risks in delivering the outputs.

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