Landscapes for Life
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are some of the UK’s most cherished and outstanding landscapes.
The DEFRA-funded ‘Farming in Protected Landscapes’ programme will be open for applications in England from July 2021. Here we explain what the programme can support and how it will work.
The Wye Valley AONB is one of England’s 46 Protected Landscapes – our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These are the nation’s special and unique places, which 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.
The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, which will run from July 2021 to March 2024 offers support for farmers and land managers 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 DEFRA programme of funding for one-off projects covering these areas of work, announced in DEFRA’s Agricultural Transition Plan, but it is not an agri-environment scheme.
The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is open to all farmers and land managers (including from the private, public and charity sector) in the English part of the Wye Valley AONB – or where the majority of the benefit is within the AONB in Herefordshire & Gloucestershire.
Applicants must manage all the land included in the application, and have control of all the proposed activities, 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.
Common land is eligible for support through the Programme. You can apply as a landowner with sole rights, or as a acting together.
You can see the AONB boundary here or by visiting the MAGIC mapping website. Click on ‘designations’, ‘land-based designations’ and then ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty England.’ The National Framework document has more details on eligibility.
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 of the outcomes listed below, under four themes.
Your project must also help to deliver at least one of the objectives of the Wye Valley AONB Management Plan 2021-26. For example, the programme might support:
The Programme will work alongside – not in competition with – 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 activity can be undertaken in isolation, but 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 at least 5 years from the date of completion. More detail on this can be found in the National Framework.
Before applying, please contact Nick Critchley, AONB Development Officer, on email@example.com or 0790 4017 982, to discuss your proposal. Nick may want to meet you to discuss your ideas and/or visit your potential project location and can then provide you with an application form.
For this first year of Programme funding the closing deadline for applications is 31st January 2022. However, funding will be awarded to successful applicants throughout the application window, rather than after the window closes, 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. But all projects must end by March 2024.
Applications for over £5,000 will be judged by a Local Assessment Panel, made up of representatives from the local farming and land management community, local specialists, Natural England and the Wye Valley AONB Joint Advisory Committee (JAC).
Applications for less than £5,000 will be decided upon by the Wye Valley AONB Manager or a senior member of the AONB team who has no prior knowledge of the project.
The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme National Framework document sets out the purpose and operation of the programme in more detail.