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Funding – Farming in Protected Landscapes

14 March

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is a part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan. It will offer funding to farmers and land managers in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), National Parks and the Broads. It is not an agri-environment scheme.

The programme will fund projects that:

  • 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 Farming in Protected Landscapes programme has been developed by Defra with the support of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Park staff from across England.

It will run from July 2021 to March 2024.

Who can apply

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is open to all farmers and land managers within an AONB or National Park in England, or the Broads. This includes farmers and land managers from the public, private and charity sector.

The programme is also open to farmers and land managers on land outside of protected landscapes.

To be eligible the project must benefit the protected landscape, or the protected landscape body’s objectives or partnership initiatives.

Contact your local protected landscape body for advice about whether your land or project is eligible.

To apply you must:

  • manage all the land included in the application
  • have control of all the activities you’d like to do

Or you must have written consent from all parties who have management and control of the land.

Other organisations and individuals can apply, as long as you collaborate with a farmer or land manager, or in support of a farmer or group of farmers.

Common land is eligible for this funding. You can apply as a landowner with sole rights, or as a group of commoners acting together.

Check your land is in a protected landscape

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

What the programme will pay for

The programme will pay for projects that provide value for money and result in at least one climatenaturepeople or place outcome.

Your project must also support the priorities of your protected landscape body’s management plan. Contact your local protected landscape team to discuss it with them.


Climate outcomes include:

  • more carbon being stored, sequestered or both
  • reduced flood risk
  • a better understanding among farmers, land managers and the public as to what different habitats and land uses can deliver for carbon storage and reduced carbon emissions
  • a landscape that’s more resilient to climate change


Nature outcomes include:

  • a greater area of wildlife-rich habitat
  • greater connectivity between habitats
  • better management of existing habitats for biodiversity
  • increased biodiversity


People outcomes include:

  • more opportunities for people to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape
  • more opportunities for diverse audiences to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape
  • greater public engagement in land management, for example through volunteering


Place outcomes include:

  • enhancing or reinforcing the quality and character of the landscape
  • historic structures and features being conserved, enhanced or interpreted more effectively
  • an increase in the resilience of nature-friendly sustainable farm businesses, which contributes to a more thriving local economy

Other outcomes

Other outcomes that the programme might support include:

  • promoting connectivity between habitats
  • replacing stiles with gates on public footpaths, for easier access
  • conserving historic features on a farm, such as lime kilns or lead mining heritage
  • supporting a locally branded food initiative that promotes the links between the product and the landscape in which it is produced
  • action to reduce carbon emissions on a farm
  • gathering data and evidence to help inform conservation and farming practice

How much funding you can get

You could get up to 100% of the costs of a project if you will not make a commercial gain from it.

If you will benefit commercially from a project, then the programme will fund a proportion of the costs. The amount will depend on how much the project will benefit your business.

The programme will work alongside, not in competition with, Defra’s existing and new schemes to add value where it’s most needed. Your protected landscape team will tell you if a potential project can be rewarded through other schemes.

You can still get funding through the programme if you are in an agri-environment scheme, as long as you’re not paid twice for the same work.

If your project is the same as a Countryside Stewardship activity, you will be paid the same as the Countryside Stewardship rate.

If your project is not the same as a Countryside Stewardship activity, the protected landscape team will offer funding on the estimated costs.

What you must maintain after the programme

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 like fences, gates or restored buildings for 5 years from the completion date.

You must maintain machinery assets like brush harvesters for grassland restoration for 5 years from the purchase date.

How to apply

You can get an application form from the protected landscape body where your project will take place.

To get funding in the first year of the programme you should apply before 31 January 2022.

If your project will begin early in the 2022 to 2023 financial year, you can also apply before 31 January 2022.

Your project must end by March 2024.

Before you apply, you should discuss your project with the protected landscape body. They might visit the location of your planned project to discuss your ideas.

How applications will be assessed

Your application will be scored:

  • 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 for over £5,000 will be judged by a local assessment panel.

Typically, the local assessment panel will include representatives from:

  • the relevant protected landscape body
  • Natural England
  • the farming and land management community
  • local specialists

We expect that the local assessment panel will meet to make decisions every 6 to 8 weeks.

Applications for less than £5,000 will be scored by a senior member of the team who has not been involved in or given advice to the application.


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