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DEFRA have recently released details on The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme. The programme is designed to fund projects that will achieve outcomes in the following categories:
· 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 is open to all farmers and land managers within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) or National Park in England. The programme will pay for projects which meet at least one of the outcomes in the four themes and that targets the objectives of the local AONB/ National Park Management Plan.
How to Apply
The application window for funding in the first year of the programme is between 1 July 2021 and 31 January 2022. Funding will be awarded within the application window and therefore it is recommended you submit your application as soon as it is ready.
Projects which do not make a commercial gain could get up to 100% funding. If the project benefits the applicant’s business, it could receive between 40% and 80% funding, depending how much it will benefit the business.
You can still get funding through the programme if you are in an agri-environment scheme, providing you aren’t paid twice for the same work and is designed to work alongside existing and new schemes. The local protected landscape team are able to advise on whether the proposal is compatible with existing schemes.
Payment rates will be based on either Countryside Stewardship (CS) rates if the proposal is a CS activity, if not the protected landscape team will offer funding on estimated costs.
After the agreement period ends, you will not need to maintain any natural, cultural and access activities you deliver as part of the programme.
Capital infrastructure such as fences, gates or restored buildings must be maintained for 5 years from the completion date and machinery assets such as brush harvesters for grassland restoration =must also be maintained for 5 years from the purchase date.
Scoring the Application
The application scoring will be weighted as follows:
· 40% for project outcomes - climate, nature, people and place
· 20% for value for money
· 20% for how sustainable the project is or the legacy it will leave
· 20% for how likely you are to carry out the project
Applications which are less than £5,000 will be scored by a senior member of the Farming in Protected Landscapes team. Applications above £5,000 will be judged by a local assessment panel which will include representatives from the local protected landscape, Natural England, local specialists and the farming and land management community.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local Professional Services team on 01884 235701 to discuss what might be suitable for you.