Water Restoration Fund for projects to improve the water environment opens to applications (application deadline: 7th June 2024)

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced that up to £11 million in water company fines and penalties will be reinvested back into a new Water Restoration Fund (WRF).

The Water Restoration Fund will offer grant funding on a competitive basis to support local groups, farmers and landowners and community-led schemes, bolstering their capacity and capabilities for on-the-ground projects to improve the water environment. This could include activities that improve biodiversity and community access to blue and green spaces in areas where water companies have been issued with fines or penalties. 

Funding for the Water Restoration Fund comes exclusively from water company fines and penalties. These penalties and fines are additional to any reparations that water companies make when they have breached environmental regulations. 

The fund will be open to a range of organisations in England, including farmers and landowners, environmental non-governmental organisations (eNGOs), Local Authorities, catchment partnerships, National Parks and National Landscapes.

The £11 million in fines and penalties collected will be allocated for water improvements in the water company areas on which they were accrued in: 

o Anglian Water: £3,085,000.  
o South West Water: £2,150,000.
o Thames Water: £3,334,000.  
o United Utilities: £800,000, and
o Yorkshire Water: £1,600,750. 

Applicants have an eight-week window to apply from Tuesday 9th April to Friday 7th June 2024 , with grant awards expected to be issued from late July. For further details, please refer to the application guidance.