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— Guidance Notes

  1. What is marine litter?
  2. Marine litter refers to any solid, manufactured or processed material that enters the marine environment, either intentionally or unintentionally. It encompasses a wide range of materials, most commonly plastics, but also includes items like glass, metal, rubber, paper, textiles, and more. Marine litter can be broadly categorised as having two main sources:


    • Urban and Rural Litter: Trash and debris from urban and rural areas, including streets and parks, can be carried by wind or runoff into rivers and oceans.

    • Improper Disposal: Litter that is not properly managed or disposed of can find its way into water bodies and contribute to marine litter.

    • Stormwater Runoff: Heavy rainfall can wash litter from streets and urban areas into storm drains and eventually into oceans.

    • Sewage and Wastewater: Inadequate sewage and wastewater systems can release trash and debris into marine environments.

    • Tourism and Events: Waste generated by events, like disposable items can become marine litter.

    • Shipping and Vessel Operations: Discarded fishing gear, cargo packaging, and other materials from ships and vessels can contribute to marine litter.

    • Illegal Dumping: Deliberate disposal of waste at sea, coastal areas, or water bodies adds to marine litter.

    • Aquaculture and Fisheries: Lost or abandoned fishing gear, ropes, and equipment can become marine litter.

    Note: 80% of marine litter comes from land sources so the grants are open to all Northern Ireland geographical areas.


  3. Who is eligible?
  4. This grant is open to any organisation with responsibilities for managing free to access public open space, including:

    • Youth, community and volunteer groups (whether constituted or not)
    • Registered charities and NGOs
    • Sports clubs, tenants and residents associations and religious groups
    • Third level education organisations and schools
    • Local Councils
    • Businesses
    • Your organisation is likely to be involved in managing and/or owning free-to-access public open space, or if not, you will have a clearly defined role in managing the local environmental quality of such space and this will be formally agreed with the landowners (note: for the purposes of this grant, school’s grounds are considered as public open space). 
    • Your project must be located on free-to-access public open space, or you must show how it is applicable to free-to-access public open space.
    • You must clearly demonstrate how the project will decrease the amount of litter and plastic entering the marine environment.
    • You must clearly demonstrate commitment and the ability to provide for the ongoing management of any physical assets purchased as part of the project (e.g., regular and timely emptying of bins) 
    • Funding must only be used for the purchase and/or installation of eligible capital items. 
    • Schools must demonstrate how they will use any assets purchased in an educational context.

    Note that collaborative applications between two or more of the above categories are welcomed.

    To be eligible:

    Grants are available across the whole of Northern Ireland and are not restricted to coastal areas. However, the funding is specifically targeted at preventing marine litter. Therefore, applications must be able to demonstrate clearly how a project will contribute to reducing litter and plastics entering our seas. In this way, projects will help ensure good environmental status of our coastal and marine environments in relation to litter. Ultimately, this will ensure that the properties and quantities of marine litter do not cause harm to the coastal and marine environment.

  5. What is the value of grants awarded?
  6. Financial support of between £500 and £40,000 will be available to constituted groups, businesses and statutory bodies meeting the eligibility criteria.

    Financial support of between £500 and £5,000 will be available to non-constituted groups.

    Note: that the average grant award is likely to be a lot less than the maximum, which will only be awarded for exceptionally innovative or strategically significant projects.

    Each applicant organisation can submit only one application with the exception that an applicant may also be named as a partner in a second collaborative bid. Each application will be judged on its own merit.

    Note: This is a competitive process; successful grant awards may be offered less than the maximum bid applied for.

    Are there any matching funding requirements?

    There is no requirement for applicants to obtain match funding for projects, however, there are two exceptions:

    • Councils must provide 50% match funding
    • Businesses must provide 50% match funding.

    Council and business match funding must be for the purchase of capital items. Ongoing maintenance and servicing costs cannot form part of the match funding. Irrespective of applicant, projects that deliver a higher level of match funding than required, and/or in-kind expertise, volunteers etc. are strongly encouraged.

  7. How can this grant be spent?
  8. The Marine Litter Capital Grants will support organisations and groups to purchase items to:

    • prevent litter and plastic pollution from entering the marine environment
    • enhance the environmental management of a local area to reduce marine litter
    • improve the health and wellbeing of communities and marine biodiversity recovery by helping to enhance and/or maintain the quality of public open spaces
    • contribute to the quality of their local environment by changing behaviour through creative concepts to reduce the incidence of littering

    Please note: capital spending is money that is spent on investment, the purchase of assets or creation of something. For example, this could be equipment which will be of tangible use/benefit in providing services and meeting the objectives of the grant scheme for more than three years.

  9. What will be funded?
  10. This grant aims to support innovative projects that prevent marine litter and promote sustainable marine ecosystems. We encourage diverse stakeholders, including local councils, NGOs, businesses, community groups, and educational institutions, to collaborate and share their creative proposals. Some examples are detailed below:

    • Artwork that is also a bin

    • Beach cleaning machines

    • Capital equipment to clean beaches/rivers

    • Capital items required to collect and transport litter for suitable disposal

    • Community-Based waste reduction programmes

    • Creative projects that capture litter before it reaches water courses

    • Creative projects that reduce marine litter

    • Digital videos for awareness of marine litter

    • Enhanced Port waste prevention or recycling facilities

    • Floating litter traps or booms

    • Permanent or mobile drinking water refill stations

    • Reasonable construction, delivery and installation costs

  11. What won't be funded?
  12. The primary focus of the Marine Litter Capital Grants is to equip organisations and people who manage public open spaces to reduce marine litter. 

    While the items below may be part of your project, the Capital Grants will not fund these items:

    • Project running costs e.g. salaries, insurance, mileage, office overheads, administration, project management fees, advertising and promotional costs
    •  Volunteer expenses
    • Professional fees of more than 25% of an awarded grant
    • Structures requiring maintenance from a local authority unless a management/maintenance agreement can be evidenced
    • Murals, posters, banners, leaflets and literature
    • Match funding for other projects
    •  Indoor bins/projects
    • Dog fouling bins
    • Litter-pickers
    • Waste removal costs

  13. What are the objective(s) that should be met?
  14. Proposed projects must meet one or more of the following objectives:

    • Enhance the environmental management and quality of a local area by preventing litter and plastics from directly entering the sea

    • Enhance the environmental management and quality of a local area by preventing litter and plastics from entering rivers, water courses, drains, etc. that lead, ultimately, to the sea

    • Improve the health and wellbeing of communities and marine biodiversity whilst helping to improve and/or maintain public spaces

    • Contribute to a strategic approach to reducing litter pollution in our rivers and seas

    • Design and create new, aesthetically appealing or engaging, innovative assets for deployment

    • Demonstrate collaborative working (applicable to all criteria a-e).

    Applicants should note that projects do not need to meet all the objectives but applications should strongly indicate those objectives that are being met.

    Projects will be assessed in the following areas:

    • impact on reducing marine litter

    • project need

    • long term management

    • value for money and leverage

    • history of success/involvement/collaboration

    • meeting objectives.

    All items purchased through the Capital Grant must not be for personal gain.

  15. How may the project be monitored?
  16. Each grantee will have specific Monitoring and Evaluation terms related to their project outlined in their Letter of Offer. These could include but are not limited to the following:

    • Reporting Schedules
    • Progress Reports
    • Financial Reporting
    • Site Visits - your project will be visited within 6 months of the issue of the Letter of Offer.
    • All items funded through the programme must be in regular use for a minimum of 2 years
    • Assistance in developing awareness materials for the public i.e. case studies
    • Where possible, grantees will be required to promote their project at an event(s) etc (identified beforehand in the Letter of Offer)

  17. How can the grant be claimed?
  18. Partial payment of Grants will be available and funding will be released upon confirmation that elements of the project are complete and grant claim documents are submitted.

    Ensuring value for money

    • No quotes are required for items under £500
    • Two quotes for items £500 to £5,000
    • Three written quotes for items exceeding £5,000
    • Tender process for items/work from a supplier exceeding £30,000

    Receipts/invoices and proof of expenditure must be submitted with ALL claims for ALL items purchased (evidence of online quotes will be accepted).

    Failure to comply may result in grant funding being withheld or withdrawn.

    Information about the online claim process will be circulated to successful projects during November 2023.

    Council and business applicants will be required to provide proof of the full expenditure in advance of the 50% payment being released. No advance payment is available.

    Where deemed necessary, applicants (excluding business and council applicants) may be able to claim 80% of funding upfront with the final 20% paid on receipt of a completed and satisfactory summary report. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and approved only where any relevant additional information has been supplied to Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

    If you have any questions in connection with the grant, please contact us.

  19. What are your group's responsibilities?
  20. Insurance

    It is your responsibility to ensure that all of your activities, including all assets purchased and installed, project materials etc. arising from this project are properly and fully insured for public, employee or any other liability.

    Landowner Permission

    It is your responsibility to ensure that all permissions, consents, legal requirements, etc. are complied with before you commence your project.

  21. What are the dates for the application?
  22. Below are the important dates for the Capital Grants Scheme:

    Application stage
    Fund opens
    28th September 2023 (12.00 PM)
    Fund closes
    9th November 2023 (5.00PM)
    Assessment completed and letter of offer sent
    Projects completed and all financial claims submitted
    24th March 2024

  23. Who sponsors this grant?
  24. The Marine Litter Capital Grants are being provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Waste Prevention Policy Branch) and is administered by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

    Live Here Love Here logo Logo of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs

  25. How to contact us

Email: marinelittergrants@liveherelovehere.org
Phone: +44 28 9073 6920  

Live Here Love Here is managed by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.

All the above Marine Litter Capital Grant Guidance Notes are available as a PDF document for you to view and print.