Natural Flood Management

Organisation: Defra
Location: National
Type: Deliver

About the 2017 open competition

Organisations and partnerships may bid for up to £50,000 for individual Natural Flood Management (NFM) projects in England.

Projects will need to demonstrate how they will meet the following allocation criteria:

  • reduce flood risk, or coastal erosion, to homes
  • improve habitats and increase biodiversity
  • contribute to research and development of NFM techniques and interventions
  • support and develop partnerships working with and between communities

Projects that require more than £50,000 in funding will need to find additional contributions from partners.

The funding is for the initial project construction, which needs to be completed by 31 March 2021. There is no funding available for continued maintenance.

How to apply for funding

Project proposals for funding will need to be submitted via the Catchment Partnerships (a list of Catchment Coordinators can be found here) by 19 May 2017. They may submit as many bids as they choose, but will be asked to suggest a priority order.

* project proposal application form can be found download 

Applications received after the 19 May will not be considered for funding through the competition process.

How funding will be awarded

The proposals will be evaluated in three stages:

  1. Catchment Partnerships and Environment Agency teams will work togeather to ensure that flood risk and environmental outcomes are realistic, using their local knowledge and expertise. They will also make sure that project proposals are in line with any local plans (e.g. Flood Risk Management Plans or River Basin Management Plans) and meet the allocation criteria outlined above. The proposals will then be put forward to a National Panel.
  2. All project proposals will be evaluated by a National Panel, including representatives from the Regional Flood Committee, EA, NE, FC and Defra. The National Panel will recommend a final list of projects to be awarded funding.
  3. Minister Coffey will make the final decision on the successful projects for the competition.

Successful projects will be notified in the summer of 2017 and invited to provide a short business case for assessment. Once the business case has been approved, successful projects can then begin. 

Successful projects will be required to provide the Environment Agency with regular project updates, including financial forecasts, progress updates, lessons learnt and best practice which will be shared with other projects.

Who to contact for further information

Further information please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Secretary of State for Defra has announced £1 million of funding for local organisations and partnerships for small NFM projects. These projects will provide an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of NFM interventions in helping reduce flood risk to communities and deliver multiple benefits. These NFM projects will be evaluated alongside other Environment Agency, Natural England and Forestry Commission projects. Together, they will add to the evidence base for the effectiveness of NFM projects and help develop alternative innovative solutions for the future.


The Catchment-Based Approach website is designed to showcase the work of catchment partnerships aross England and Wales and to encourage the sharing and adoption of best practice in stakeholder-led catchment managment planning, delivery and evaluation.


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