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Land+ Futures:
exploring a new approach

5th October 2023

The NorthWest2045 group – in partnership with Galbraith  - has been awarded funding to explore how communities can proactively engage with emerging natural capital markets. 

The six-month development funding is one of 27 grants awarded in the highly-competitive first round of the Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland (FIRNS). It will allow us to build on our 2022 Natural Capital Baseline Assessment, and our ‘Land+’ project which has been on-going in Kinlochbervie since early 2023 as part of the Scottish Government Regional Land Use Partnership pilot. This work comprised in-depth conversations between people throughout the community - including landowners - and our community leads (Sara Harkins, Denise MacDonald and Sophie Clark) to understand deeply the needs and priorities of this place. 

"Local voices need to be heard.
Local communities need to be at the heart of any initiatives
and be empowered to control the future of their communities.
Projects that provide direct benefit to the local community are essential."

Kinlochbervie Community Council

We can now start shaping and testing a community-led model which will enable the people of Kinlochbervie  to define and drive the change that is required to build community wealth, through innovative natural capital opportunities.

The concept for this place-based approach evolved through a collaboration between the NorthWest2045 Land+ team, Eleanor Harris, Natural Capital and Carbon Lead at Galbraith, and Mark Reed, Co-Director of the Thriving Natural Capital Challenge Centre at SRUC. Working in partnership with Dr Harris, and with guidance from Prof Reed, we will combine the most innovative natural capital expertise with local knowledge to produce a model which can be adapted and replicated across rural communities. 

"I am hugely excited to be working with the NW2045 team to develop these genuinely innovative proposals.
To unlock social regeneration by tackling the region’s carbon footprint, and helping landowners and others to restore nature would be a win-win opportunity. By engaging with the global economy, the community can be empowered to tackle local challenges, in locally-relevant and deliverable way
Eleanor Harris, Galbraith

The new FIRNS fund – co-funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with the Scottish Government and NatureScot - was formed, ‘to create a pipeline of market-ready projects to help attract responsible private investment in Scotland’s nature.’ Recognising that public investment alone will not be sufficient to meet our ambitious climate change and nature targets - but that private investment is not always of the highest integrity regarding either environmental or community ‘benefits’- this facility supports projects to build robust financial models which do not compromise environmental or community outcomes.

NW2045 was established in 2020, comprising community groups; local development trusts; statutory bodies; and community, private and eNGO landowners from across the North West Highlands. NW2045 began by researching and articulating a community-generated ‘NW2045 Vision’, which called for: A place that is attractive for young people and families to live and work; A model for a new diverse & sustainable rural economy; A place where our communities can determine their own prospects. 

As one of the founding members of the NW2045 collective, Assynt Development Trust (ADT) provides the role of anchor organization for NW2045 funding. NW2045/ADT has been piloting the Regional Land Use Partnership approach since 2021, from which this intelligent and sensitive place-based ‘Land+’ work has evolved.

ADT are supporting Rachel Skene and Lizzie Williams to manage this ambitious and important piece of work. Please keep an eye on these pages for more information.

"Our communities need opportunities to explore how our natural capital can be translated into actions to overcome threats to their survival, such as depopulation, food & fuel poverty, lack of homes & infrastructure."
Councillor Marianne Hutchinson 

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