The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme has been created by Defra and it forms part of the Government’s Agricultural Transition Plan (ATP).
It will provide funds to allow farmers and land managers to work with Protected Landscape organisations (National Park Authorities and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty teams) to provide benefits for nature, climate, people and places. The programme will run until 31 March 2024.
Our Protected Landscapes (PLs) – our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) - are special and unique and need to be managed, enhanced and protected while also supporting the farmers and communities who work within them and the wider local economy.
The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, which will operate in England, will provide additional investment in these places to allow farmers to work in partnership with Protected Landscape bodies to deliver bigger and better outcomes for the environment for people and for the place.
Protected Landscapes can make an important contribution to:
As part of the Agricultural Transition Plan, the government has committed to help farmers and land managers deliver against these four areas, in a holistic way - in order to meet the requirements of individual Protected Landscapes, helping strengthen their special importance and enhance their environments and accessibility.
The programme will be delivered by farmers, working in partnership with Protected Landscape teams – Protected Landscape teams and farmers living and working in these areas know the opportunities and challenges facing their landscapes and communities the best. This is an opportunity for Protected Landscapes, farmers and others within these areas to work better together, leading work at an individual landscape level, building on existing relationships.
The programme will be project based and take a bottom up approach - this means that funding will support individual projects proposed by farmers, and approved by Local Assessment Panels, which will support Protected Landscapes’ local priorities.
This is a time limited programme (2021-2024) to provide additional investment in our most special places - it will work alongside – not in competition with - existing schemes and add value where it is most needed. Over the longer term, Defra would envision the Sustainable Farming Incentive, the Local Nature Recovery scheme and the Landscape Recovery scheme playing a specific part across these landscapes, with farmers who lead on Farming in Protected Landscape projects taking part in one of these schemes.
Applications will be accepted from farmers and land managers within an AONB or National Park in England, or the Norfolk Broads. The programme may also support activity on other land where that activity can demonstrate benefit to the Protected Landscape, or the Protected Landscape organisation’s objectives or partnership initiatives. Your Farming in Protected Landscape officer can advise on whether your land / project is eligible.
Follow these steps:
This programme supports activity on the following areas and features within a protected landscape:
Agricultural land is eligible even if it is not actively farmed. The definition of agricultural land is best defined by reference to the Valuation Office Agency definition at the following link:
This programme does not support works on domestic property.
You can receive funding through the programme for work in the above places if you:
Common land is eligible for support through the Programme. You can apply as a landowner with sole rights, or as a group of commoners acting together.
Applications will also be accepted from organisations and individuals delivering projects which are in support of the programme outcomes and the relevant Protected Landscape Management Plan/Priorities, as long as they are applying in collaboration with a farmer or land manager.
A summary of bodies/organisations who are directly eligible is set out below:
This programme supports activity on the following areas and features within a protected landscape:
The programme is also open to farmers and land managers on eligible land outside of protected landscape, but the project must benefit the protected landscape, or the protected landscape body’s objectives or partnership initiatives.
This programme does not support works on domestic property, or other areas outside of the definition above such as village greens, churchyards, school ground.
Your Protected Landscape FiPL officer can advise on whether your land / project is eligible.
Government departments, executive agencies and NDPBs (for example, Ministry of Defence, Forestry Commission), with exception of the bodies listed below - can not apply
Natural England - can apply, for work on the National Nature Reserves which goes beyond other legal obligations
Other public bodies (including National Park Authorities, The Broads Authority, Conservation Boards and AONB Partnerships through their accountable bodies) - can apply, provided the work goes beyond the duty of regard and other legal obligations .
County, Unitary, District, Parish Council and former college farms - can apply.
Tenants of eligible public bodies - can apply. Ineligible where the work is already a requirement of the tenancy agreement. The public body must countersign the application if the tenant does not have security of tenure for the full term of the agreement.
Tenants of ineligible public bodies - can apply. Ineligible where the work is already a requirement of the tenancy agreement. Tenants must have security of tenure for the full term of the agreement, as the public body cannot countersign the application.
Other organisations and individuals - can apply, where the proposed activity or works is in support of programme aims.
In the application form, all applicants are required to declare that they have management control of the land for the term of the agreement (including any maintenance period). For tenanted land, Protected Landscape teams will need the landowner’s signature and for common land the signatures of all owners and commoners or an agreed nominated representative.
If a claim were found to be incorrect, agreements would allow Protected Landscapes to reclaim the money back from the applicant (if monies had been spent). If no monies had been spent, the contract would be cancelled.
If you are including land in an application that you occupy under a tenancy, including under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 (a Farm Business Tenancy) or equivalent, you must have:
If you are a landlord and can show that you have management control over land which has been let to a tenant, and the activities, you can include that land in an application.
If the application is made by the landowner who owns the whole common and has sole use and rights to the land, the common can be entered as the landowner’s holding.
Protected Landscape organisations and other bodies may be able to facilitate collaborative projects as a lead or responsible partner. Regardless of who applies, if the application is made by someone who does not have sole use of all the land and where there will be two or more beneficiaries to the agreement:
You can apply to the programme as part of a collaborative farmer group. You can choose out of the below three options how you and your collaborative farmer group would like to apply.
You will need to have partnership agreements between the participants and the lead applicant / applicant body. Your Protected Landscape team can support you to develop these.
You will need to demonstrate how your project:
The outcomes, of which you will need to demonstrate that your project delivers against at least one, are listed below under four key themes:
Examples of the types of work or projects that are relevant to the outcomes of this programme could include;
Energy generation should not typically be seen as delivering an outcome within the Climate theme or as part of the FiPL programme. A project using a form of renewable energy for energy generation is only eligible for that part where it is provided solely for the purpose of contributing to a wider FiPL project activity itself. For example, you might have a small wind turbine which solely powers a classroom where students will learn about the feature. Where energy generation is supported, the renewable energy feature will need to demonstrate value for money within the project outcomes. Renewables cannot be included in a FiPL project if they have any form of feed in tariffs or are connected to the National Grid. Solar parks or solar arrays will not be eligible. Any form of energy audit included in an application must be part of a wider project delivering measurable FiPL project outcomes.
FiPL should not be used as a means of gaining other renewables incentives, for example from a 3rd party provider or energy incentive scheme.
Projects brought forward under the third of the Place outcomes - There is an increase in the resilience of nature friendly sustainable farm businesses, which in turn contributes to a more thriving local economy - must deliver this in balance with and directly linked to other programme outcomes across the four themes. High cost items may fail the value for money test unless they are delivering against multiple other outcomes.
Examples would include:
This outcome is not intended to support all commercial activity on farms. Other, more general business resilience and productivity measures are better suited to other funds which are being brought forward by Defra, e.g.:
You will also need to ensure that your project delivers the management plan/priorities of the Lake District National Park Authority.
The management plans/priorities for the Lake District National Park are:
We will update this section of the application guidance with further details of priorities over the period of the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme.
For further advice on the types of projects that this programme can deliver please speak to your protected Landscape team.
The maximum grant you can apply for through this programme is £250,000.
The minimum grant you can apply for through this programme is £1,000.
You can apply for both capital and revenue spend.
Revenue spend is where funding is provided to support management actions which deliver Farming in Protected Landscape objectives.
Capital spend is where funding is provided to purchase or invest in a physical asset (capital item) to achieve a stated outcome, for example increased business prosperity or improvements to the environment. Capital items can be natural landscape features (such as trees, hedgerows and ponds) or built (such as fencing, water, infrastructure, buildings, machinery and equipment).
Capital spend does not include items outside of the definition above, such as the purchase of livestock, farm vehicles (mechanised conveyance vehicles) such as Tractors, Quadbikes, Gators, ATVs, 4wd trucks, etc, or renewables where they have any form of feed in tariff or if connected to the National Grid. Second-hand machinery is not eligible. GPS cattle collars (Invisible fencing systems) cannot currently be funded.
For further advice on what revenue or capital items can be applied for please speak to your Protected Landscape team.
The purpose of the programme is to enable additional support where it is most needed for farmers and other land managers in Protected Landscapes – and delivering for climate, nature, people, and place. As with Countryside Stewardship, some projects that achieve these ends will inevitably have a commercial dimension, and this factor is reflected accordingly in the payment rates.
You should be aware that the programme is designed to fund additional activities that deliver our programme goals in ways that are most effective for local areas. It will not provide subsidy for normal private sector interests. All applications will be rigorously reviewed to ensure there is no overlap with other programme funding or grant schemes. For any further queries on this matter, please contact your Protected Landscape team.
Where there is an equivalent Countryside Stewardship rate or Farming Investment Fund rate for the work or activity you want to do, that rate will also be used in the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.
Where you are applying to fund an activity for which there is no equivalent standard payment rate, you will need to be able show that the associated costs represent value for money - this is based on getting quotes for the work. Your Protected landscape team can advise you on this.
Where the project has no obvious commercial benefit to you (e.g. where the work or activity is solely focused on nature recovery) you can be paid up to 100% of the eligible costs. Where the project supports a clear commercial gain to you then you can be paid up to 40% of eligible costs, and if the project generates some commercial benefit to you but is primarily delivering public goods, then this will be paid up to 80% of eligible costs.
A project may consist of a range of items with equivalent schemes activity and actual cost bespoke items , specific to the project being proposed and outcomes being targeted. Funding on an actual cost basis may also be underpinned or in combination with other Countryside Stewardship equivalent options on the same land, where the option requirements do not conflict. By combining option(s) on the same area, where they do not conflict, multiple objectives can be met.
Please speak to your Farming in Protected Landscape officer for advice on payment rates and intervention rates. You may have different payment and intervention rates for the different activities that make up your project.
You may also want to be paid to do the work yourself rather than through a contractor. This is possible providing it is appropriate for the project and represents a reasonable rate for the job, benchmarked against known costs locally or standard costs.
For the first year of funding, you can apply from 1 July 2021 – 31 January 2022. You can submit your application at any time during this window, though as funding is limited early applications are encouraged.
Complete the enquiry form on the Lake District National Park Authority website
One of our Farming in Protected Landscape advisers will get in touch with you to discuss your proposal, and advise you on your application. We will help you fill out your full application.
You should expect to hear back from your Protected Landscape team within 10 working days of your application.
All projects will be scored using a common scoring system. You will be scored against the following categories which will be weighted differently for your final score:
There are a number of requirements you must meet for your application to progress and these will be made clear in the application template. Your Protected Landscape will consider whether you meet the essential criteria for the programme (see under ‘who can apply’). If you do not meet the essential criteria, your Protected Landscape will not assess your application further.
Your application will be assessed by a Local Assessment Panel made up of experts from across your Protected Landscape, including from the farming and land management community, where you project will be given a score using a common scoring system.
Your application will be assessed by a senior member from your Protected Landscape team who has not been involved in providing advice or guidance to your application. They will assess your application using the common scoring system giving you a score for your project. If you submit more than two applications for projects under £5,000 over the course of the programme, the third and any further applications will be assessed at the Local Assessment Panel whatever their value.
You are encouraged to bring in third party investment. Applications with match funding may increase their value for money scoring as part of the assessment process.
If you want to use third part funding you will be required to provide details of the third-party funding on the application form.
Applicants will be eligible to receive third party funding for Farming in Protected Landscape projects as long as the source of the third party funding is not from the Exchequer.
You will not need to maintain any natural, cultural and access activities you deliver as part of the programme after your agreement period ends.
You must maintain capital infrastructure such as fences, gates or restored buildings for 5 years from the completion date.
You must maintain machinery assets such as brush harvesters for grassland restoration for 5 years from the purchase date.
If your farm holding crosses the boundary of more than one Protected Landscape and you are interested in applying to the Farming in Protected Landscape programme please speak to an officer in either of the Protected Landscapes in which your holding lies. They will be best placed to advise which Protected Landscape body you should apply to.
Defra are funding an external contractor to review the effectiveness of the programme and show what Protected Landscapes bodies can deliver in partnership with farmers and land managers. Successful applicants will need to commit to participating in the programme evaluation; the input expected will be proportionate to the level of funding received.
It’s important to note that the programme isn’t an agri-environment scheme – it’s a programme supporting individual projects, enabling additional investment where it is most useful.
Being in an agri-environment scheme isn’t a barrier to receiving project funding through the programme as long as you’re not paid twice for the same work The only exception to this is that you can’t be in the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot this year and receive funds through the programme.
Your Protected Landscape team will be able to provide you with more details, and guide you through the application process.
Participants part of the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme should be well placed to enter into environmental land management schemes once the programme ends. Participants will not automatically roll into environmental land management scheme agreements from the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.
Over the longer term, Defra would envision the Sustainable Farming Incentive, the Local Nature Recovery scheme and the Landscape Recovery scheme playing a specific part across these our Protected Landscapes, with farmers who lead on the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme projects taking part in one of these schemes.
We understand that you may be disappointed with a decision. If you would like appeal to the decision made you should make an appeal to your Protected Landscape by contacting Richard Leafe, CEO, Lake District National Park Authority, Murley Moss Business Park, Oxenholme Road, Kendal, LA9 7RL firstname.lastname@example.org
You can only query a funding decision if you think that the Protected Landscape has:
You must set out to the Protected Landscape team the reason for your appeal under one (or more) of these three criteria.
Appeals will be dealt with by your Protected Landscape team and if necessary escalated to Defra.
Alternatively if you would like to speak with one of our Farming in Protected Landscape advisers about the programme or a project you are considering please complete our enquiry form