The Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme
Page last updated: 29 July 2021
Protected Landscapes – our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – are special and unique places. They are living, working landscapes that also support a huge range of habitats and species, and they are enjoyed by millions of people every year. By supporting the farmers, land managers and people who live and work in these areas, we can help protect these exceptional places and support local communities.
To help do this, Defra is introducing the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, which will run from July 2021 to March 2024.
Through the programme, farmers and land managers can be supported to carry out projects that support nature recovery, mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and cultural heritage, or support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses. This is a programme of funding for one-off projects covering these areas of work, not an agri-environment scheme.
The programme is part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan. It has been developed by Defra with the support of a group of AONB and National Park staff from across the country. The programme’s National Framework document sets out the purpose and operation of the programme in more detail.
The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is open to all farmers and land managers, including from the private, public and charity sector in the AONB – or where activity on the ground can bring benefit to the AONB.
You must manage all the land included in the application and have control of all the activities you’d like to undertake, or you must have written consent from all parties who have this management and control.
Other organisations and individuals can apply, as long as they do this in collaboration with a farmer or land manager, or in support of a farmer or group of farmers.
The programme supports activity on any land within the South Devon AONB. It can also support activity on other land where projects can demonstrate benefit to the AONB or its objectives or AONB Partnership Committees initiatives. Most of the funding will probably be provided to projects within the AONB boundaries.
You can see the boundary by visiting the Devon County Council Environment Viewer.
What the Programme will pay for
The Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme will pay for projects that, in the opinion of the Local Assessment Panel (see ‘Application assessment’ below) provide value for money and meet at least one of the outcomes listed below, under four themes.
- More carbon is stored and/or sequestered
- Flood risk is reduced
- Farmers, land managers and the public better understand what different habitats and land uses can store carbon and reduce carbon emissions
- The landscape is more resilient to climate change
- There is a greater area of habitat improved for biodiversity
- There is an increase in biodiversity
- There is greater connectivity between habitats
- Existing habitat is better managed
- There are more opportunities for people to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape
- There are more opportunities for more diverse audiences to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape
- There is greater public engagement in land management, such as through volunteering
- Farmers and land managers feel increasingly comfortable with providing public goods
- The quality and character of the landscape is reinforced or enhanced
- Historic structures and features are conserved, enhanced or interpreted more effectively
- There is an increase in farm business resilience
Your project must also help to deliver at least one of the objectives of the South Devon AONB Management Plan. Details of these objectives can be found at AONB Management Plan.
For example, the programme might support:
- Replacing stiles with gates on public footpaths to promote easier access
- Creating ponds to support a variety of wildlife
- Promoting connectivity between habitats
- Creating and promoting a series of farm walks across a cluster of farms, providing new access opportunities, links to the rights of way network and interpretation of farming and of the natural and historic features on the land
- Conserving historic features on a farm, such as lime kilns.
- Parking improvements at a key site provide safe access to popular walking routes and reduces congestion for visitors and for local residents
- A pop-up camping facility, alongside the provision of new walking trails and on site activities, including e.g. stargazing and dawn chorus walks
- Supporting a locally-branded food initiative which promotes the links between the product and the landscape in which it is produced
- Re-wilding an area of land and promoting natural processes
- Action to reduce carbon emissions on a farm
- Whole farm planning for conservation, energy efficiency and economic resilience, including in farmer clusters
- Gathering data and evidence to help inform conservation and farming practice
- Accessing farm business advice
- Working with new audiences to enable them to experience the Protected Landscape
The Programme will work alongside Defra’s existing and new schemes, adding value where it is most needed. If a potential project can be rewarded through those schemes instead, you will be made aware of them.
If an activity is equivalent to one under Countryside Stewardship (CS), the Programme payment rate will be the same as the CS rate. If not, we will base Programme funding offers on the projected costs of an activity with final payments made against evidenced costs.
Capital infrastructure assets – including, but not limited to, fences, gates, building restoration, should be maintained for 5 years from the date of completion.
Machinery assets should be maintained for 5 years from the date of purchase.
The requirement to maintain natural, cultural and access activities for example, management of grassland, restoration of a limekiln delivered as part of programme will cease no later than 1 April 2024.
How to apply
To apply, please fill in an application form. Applications for the first year of Programme funding should be made between 1st July 2021 and 31st January 2022. Funding will be awarded to successful applicants throughout the application window, so you should submit your application as soon as it is ready.
We will also consider applications for funding in year 2, especially if they aim to begin early in the financial year.
Multi-year awards are possible for longer projects. All projects must end by March 2024.
Applications over £5,000 will be judged by a Local Assessment Panel. This kind of system has been used locally before for the South Devon AONB ‘Sustainable Development Fund’ and for the South Devon Coastal LEADER programme which you may be familiar with.
The Local Assessment Panel will be made up of 8 to 12 people. It will include representatives from the AONB staff Unit, AONB Partnership Committee, Natural England, together with local farmers and landowners representatives.
We expect that the panel will meet to make decisions every 6 to 8 weeks.
Applications for less than £5,000 will be decided upon by the AONB Unit Manager who will have no prior knowledge of the project.
The value of any project must be at least £2,000
Please refer to the following:
How do I find out more?
In the first instance please complete an enquiry form and email to the team.
Click the Submit an Enquiry box at the bottom of this page which will bring up the form.
We will respond to your enquiry within 5 working days; this may lead to a visit to the project location by an Adviser to discuss your ideas and application further.