A HAMPSHIRE organisation has been awarded a £100,000 grant to help it investigate ways of combating climate change.

The cash will enable the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) to develop a pilot project that aims to encourage the private sector to invest in nature-based solutions.

The NPA is working in partnership with Palladium, a company specialising in identifying new ways to help the environment.

A scheme involving the Barker-Mill and Cadland estates will identify areas where arable farmland and low-quality grassland could be turned into woodlands and wetlands to capture carbon.

NPA bosses are hoping the scheme will encourage private sector funding in nature.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: "It is crucial that domestic natural environment projects are able to attract private investment alongside support from the public sector."

Professor Gavin Parker, chairman of the NPA, added: "There is a demand for environmental services such as carbon sequestration, better wildlife habitats, clean water and reduction of flood risk.

"Landowners can deliver these solutions, if there is a revenue stream that incentivises them to do so.

"The grant enables us to take the lead on tackling climate change across the national park by developing innovative solutions to our twin environmental crises - climate change and biodiversity loss.

"Delivering nature-based solutions is key to meeting climate change goals and this funding will provide a key mechanism to help finance these ambitions."

Andrew Sutherland, Palladium’s Director of Nature-Based Solutions, said: "These types of pilots are going to be more important than ever in helping to restore nature in the UK, particularly in leveraging much-needed private finance.

"Conversations are taking place with a diverse range of companies who are also close to committing to support this new approach to nature restoration."