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Questions & answers

What is State Aid and how does it affect my project?

To comply with the European Commission’s (EC) state aid regulations, public assistance payments that are on a discretionary basis should be avoided where the payment could distort competition in the market place. This is defined as offering goods and/or services on a given market which could, at least in principle, be carried out by a private operator for remuneration in order to make profits.

The National Park Authority has received exemption from state aid rules for elements of our grant scheme.

Applicants should consider when applying for a grant if the purpose of the grant could be construed as helping compete in the market place. Applicants should seek guidance from the National Park Authority if they have any doubt as to whether their application, if successful, could be considered as State Aid.

What are the National Park Authority’s Procurement Requirements?

At application stage you must provide evidence that your costs provide good value for money; so for purchases, works or services that cost (inc. VAT):

  • £5,000 or less, where value for money can otherwise be demonstrated, at least two quotes is recommended but one quote may be acceptable, at the discretion of the National Park Authority.
  • £5,000 to £10,000 at least three quotes are expected.
  • Greater than £10,000 at least three quotes should be provided and submitted on the basis of a written specification.

What sort of evidence and information will I have to provide?

At application stage you must be able to provide evidence (including photos/designs/survey results, if applicable) of:

  • costs of all elements of delivering your project
  • audited accounts (for constituted community/voluntary groups/charities)
  • match funding (if applicable)
  • value for money
  • quotations for costs of work/services (see procurement guidelines above)
  • any relevant planning permissions or consents, for example surveys for roosting bats or bird nesting sites
  • the need for your project
  • how you will manage, monitor and report on project delivery within a specified timescale
  • considering equality issues for example that the project promotes involvement of young people, older people, black/minority ethnic people or other vulnerable people.

What are the time scales?

Please visit the “How to Apply” page.

Do any restrictions apply to the Grant Awards?

Yes.  If your application is successful, your grant award will be subject to various grant conditions.  You will therefore be required to sign a Grant Agreement, which is a contract.  Some of the key grant conditions to be aware of are highlighted below:

  • You will be required to have the agreement of the landowner and also any statutory consents such as planning permission or building warrants, where required.
  • You will be required to ensure that wildlife e.g. bat roosts and nesting birds, are not disturbed. This this may involve obtaining a bat survey and/or delaying commencement of works.
  • You will be obliged to maintain any works funded by the grant award for a minimum period.
  • You will be required to allow the Park Authority to monitor how the grant award is being used, by providing regular update reports and/or permitting site inspections.
  • You may be required to repay a grant award (in part or in full) if:
    • you receive a grant award to purchase or develop an asset, equipment or property and:
      • your interest in the asset or property is transferred to a third party within a minimum period;
      • the asset or property value increases within a minimum period; or
      • you fail to maintain the works funded by the grant to an adequate standard.
  • the project is not completed to a satisfactory standard, in line with your project plans and specifications;
  • you fail to disclose any financial contributions received or expected for the project from any other public funds;
  • the eligible costs are less than those indicated in original quotations; or
  • any information in your application is fraudulent, false, misleading or inaccurate.
  • The Park Authority will publish details of any financial support given to the applicant via the National Park Grant Fund. You will be required to acknowledge the grant in any publicity material relating to the project.

When will the grant be paid?

  • The National Park Grant will not normally be awarded to a recipient in advance of need, and will not normally be made available until the recipient has spent the funds and claimed reimbursement. In this case, the monies will be transferred to your bank account by end of March 2019, once all claims have been processed.
  • Pre-funding may be appropriate in the case of voluntary sector bodies as long as they have demonstrated need (i.e. they can demonstrate to us that they do not have their own funds to deliver the project). In this case, monies will be transferred to your bank account prior to the start of the project and is subject to all grant conditions laid out in the Grant Agreement.

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