Farming in Protected Landscapes

Farming in Protected Landscapes

This new Farming in Protected Landscapes Scheme is open to farmers and land managers and offers funding to be used to improve Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), National Parks and the Broads. It is not an agri-environment scheme.

The Protected Landscape bodies will provide money to support farmers from 2021, especially upland farmers (75% of upland farmers land is in protected Landscapes).

The funding is available for improving the natural environment, public access and cultural heritage for farmers and land managers.

The farming in Protected Landscapes scheme will fund projects including:

  • Support nature recovery
  • Mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • Provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage
  • Support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses

The scheme will be open to application from  July 2021 and end in March 2024.

Who Can Apply for the Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme?

If you are either a land manager or a farmer of land considered to be AONB or National Park in England, or the Broads you can apply for the Protected Landscapes programme. Including farmers from the private, public and charity sectors.

To be considered as eligible for the funding and accepted on the scheme you must be able to demonstrate the value of your project in meeting the goals and objectives outlined in the scheme. In this case, the planned project must provide a clear benefit to the protected landscape, or the protected landscape body’s objectives or partnership initiatives.

To check whether your project is eligible contact your local protected landscape body 

To apply you must meet the following criteria:

  • Manage all the land included in the application
  • Have control of all the activities you would like to do

Or all parties involved with managing and controlling the land must give you written consent to act on their behalf.

If there is a collaboration with a farmer or land manager, then in this case with consent, an organisation or individual can apply to support the application of either a farmer or a group of farmers.

Eligibility can be sought for common land which is considered eligible and can be applied for as a group acting together or as a single applicant application as a landowner with sole control.

To check if your land is within the boundaries of a Protected Landscape:

Check if your land is within the boundaries of a protected landscape on the MAGIC mapping website.

What is included in the scheme?

The Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme will provide funding for projects that provide improvements to at least one of the objectives, which are nature, climate, people or places but value for money to reach these outcomes is also crucial.

Your proposed project must also be in line with the protected landscape body’s management plan priorities and offer value to the outlined goals.

Nature outcomes

Your proposed project should deliver:

  • An increased area of wildlife-rich habitat
  • Enhanced connectivity between habitats
  • Improved management of existing habitats for biodiversity
  • An increase in biodiversity

People outcomes

Your proposed project should deliver:

  • Improve and consider opportunities for the public to explore, enjoy and learn about the landscape
  • Enhance and expand opportunities for more diverse audiences to explore, enjoy and learn about the landscape
  • Encourage greater public engagement in land management, for example through volunteering

Place outcomes

Your proposed project should deliver:

  • Enhancing or reinforcing the character and quality of the landscape
  • Conserving historic structures and features, more effectively enhanced or interpreted
  • Increase the resilience of nature-friendly sustainable farm businesses, which contributes and ads value to a more thriving local economy (this must be delivered alongside other outcomes)

Funding may be available for projects:

  • Promoting connectivity between habitats
  • Improving access on public footpaths by replacing stiles with gates
  • Conservation of historic farm features, such as lime kilns or lead mining heritage
  • Support of a local food initiative, promoting links between farm produce and the landscape in which it is produced
  • Activities that reduce farm carbon emissions 
  • Collection of informative data and evidence to aid future conservation and farm management practices

How much funding can you receive?

If your project will not provide you with any financial gain then you could receive 100% of the proposed project costs.

If the proposed project will provide a commercial benefit for you then you will receive a proportion of the costs from the Protected Landscapes scheme, depending on the level of benefit to your business.

The Protected Landscapes Scheme compliments the new and existing schemes available from Defra, working alongside the Agri-environment schemes which include:

  • Sustainable Farming Incentive
  • Local Nature Recovery
  • Landscape Recovery

The new schemes have been designed to support farmers and the rural economy whilst also achieving the targets outlined in the 25 Year Environment Plan:

Protection of 30% of land in the UK by 2030 and Net Zero by 2050

If you are in an agri-environment scheme you can still get funding from the Protected Landscapes scheme, but you can not enter the same action on different schemes or be remunerated twice. 

For projects that match activities included in the Countryside Stewardship scheme, the funding will meet the rate paid for that scheme. If the project is different from the Countryside Stewardship scheme activity funding will be offered at an estimated cost by the Protected Landscapes team.

Expectations on completion of the Protected Landscapes scheme

After the completion of the scheme you must maintain:

Any capital infrastructure must be maintained for five years after the scheme completion, such as gates, fences or restored buildings.

Any machinery assets must be maintained for five years after the scheme completion, such as brush harvesters for the restoration of grassland.

After the scheme completion, any natural, cultural and access activities delivered under the scheme will not require maintenance.

How to apply for the Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme

Before application, your proposed project should be discussed with the Protected Landscape body. They may wish to visit the proposed site of your project to discuss your plan.

An application form can be obtained from the nearest Protected Landscape body to the proposed project location.

To be considered for the first round of the scheme’s funding your application needs to be in by January 31st 2022.

Your proposed project must be completed by March 2024.

How applications are assessed

Application scoring:

40% for project outcomes relevant to – climate, nature, people and place

20% for demonstrating value for money

20% for projects sustainability and lasting legacy

20% likelihood of the project going ahead

Any applications that have a total project value exceeding £5,000 will be reviewed by a local assessment team.

The local assessment team will be made up of representatives from the following:

  • The protected landscape body relevant to the project
  • Natural England
  • The farming and land management community
  • Local specialists

For applications under a total project value of £5,000, a senior team member is independent of the projects advisory process.

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