A GRANT scheme offering aid to environmental projects across Hambleton is being launched this week.

The Natural Environment Fund, which embraces two existing grant schemes, will be used to achieve the aims of the district's Biodiversity Action Plan.

The council's Countryside Conservation Fund and Tree Planting Scheme have been running for many years.

But creating one new fund will give greater flexibility in the use of those funds, allowing them to be targeted towards specific projects.

"The objectives of the two existing schemes directed aid towards landscape improvement and enhancement and the planting of trees for amenity reasons," said planning and development chief Mick Jewitt.

"In the light of the increasing importance and interest in biodiversity and countryside conservation and enhancement we have decided to re-focus the allocation our grants towards achieving the targets in the action plan."

A maximum award for each individual project has been set at £1,000.

To apply for aid, contact Glen Robinson on (01609) 767165.