Farming in Protected Landscapes

The Defra-funded Farming in Protected Landscapes programme runs from 2021 to 2024. The first application window is open from 1 July 2021 to 31 January 2022. Here you can find out more about what the programme can support and how it works.

To read more about the programme, click the buttons below or continue to scroll down the page.

An online introduction for farmers and land managers

Find out more about the programme in a one-hour online webinar on Tuesday 7th September from 12-1pm.

Agenda:

  • An overview of the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme
  • What does the funding cover?
  • Hear from other farmers on how funding can help you build your business
  • Where to go for more information, and how to apply
  • Your chance to ask questions

To register just enter your details here

Farming in Protected Landscapes

To find out more about the programme, an introduction to the programme is given in this farming in protected landscapes video

Defra are supporting the farmers, land managers and people who live and work in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to help protect the exceptional places and support local communities.

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.

You can find details of the programme in the Guidance for Applicants.  This explains what the programme is, who is eligible, what sort of projects can be supported, what costs can be applied for, how to apply, and how applications will be assessed.

Eligibility in Cannock Chase

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is open to all farmers and land managers (including from the private, public and charity sector) in a National Park, AONB or the Norfolk Broads – or where activity on the ground can bring benefit to one or more of those areas.

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 Cannock Chase AONB. It can also support activity on land outside the AONB where projects can demonstrate benefit to Cannock Chase, or the AONB Partnership’s objectives or partnership initiatives.

Cannock Chase AONB lies in southern Staffordshire on 69 sq kms (28 sq miles) of land between Stafford in the north, Rugeley in the east, Cannock in the south, and Penkridge to the west. You can view a map of the AONB on our website, or by visiting the MAGIC mapping website. Click on ‘designations’, ‘land-based designations’ and then ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty England.’

What the programme will pay for

The programme will pay for projects that, in the opinion of a Local Assessment Panel (see Application assessment below for more details of the Panel) provide value for money and meet at least one of the outcomes listed below, under four themes.

Nature outcomes

  • There is a greater area of wildlife rich habitat
  • There is greater connectivity between habitats
  • Existing habitat is better managed for biodiversity
  • There is an increase in biodiversity

Climate outcomes

  • 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

People outcomes

  • 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

Place outcomes

  • 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 the resilience of nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses, which in turn contributes to a more thriving local economy

You will need to ensure that your project delivers the management plan/priorities for the Cannock Chase AONB.  The current priorities are summarised in the Management Plan Priorities, together with more examples of the types of projects that may be considered for funding through the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme.

The kinds of projects the programme might support include:

Promoting connectivity between habitats

Restoring drystone walls or hedges

Grassland restoration

Re-wilding an area of land and promoting natural processes

Action to reduce carbon emissions, or the use of plastics, on a farm

Gathering data and evidence to help inform conservation and farming practice

Providing new or easier access opportunities, links to the rights of way network or interpretation of farming and of the natural and historic features

Parking improvements at a key site to provide safe access to popular walking routes and reduce congestion for visitors and for local residents

Creating scrapes, ponds or other wetland to support a variety of wildlife

Conserving historic features on a farm, such as lime kilns or lead mining heritage

Working with new audiences to enable them to experience the Protected Landscape

Planning for nature conservation, energy efficiency and business resilience, including in farmer clusters

Payment rates

If an activity is equivalent to one under Countryside Stewardship (CS), the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme payment rate will be the same as the CS rate. If not, funding offers will be based on the projected costs of an activity. View the unit rates for Countryside Stewardship.

Payments for capital items will be paid in arrears.  Management payments would be 50% in advance and 50% in arrears.

Farming in Protected Landscapes and other funding sources

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. Note that those seeking support for machinery to increase productivity should utilise the Countryside Productivity Scheme rather than project grants through Farming in Protected Landscapes

Large scale tree planting may be best delivered through Forestry Commission funding including the England Woodland Creation Offer.

We are also expecting large scale peatland restoration to be delivered through the Nature for Climate Fund.

Expression of interest form

    Would you like to sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date with what’s happening in Cannock Chase via our e-newsletter

    Application

    Applications for year 1 should be made between 1 July 2021 and 31 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 may be possible for longer projects. All projects must end, and have been claimed and grants paid, by 31 March 2024.

    Please read the application guidance (337 KB) before applying.

    Download the application form (276 KB).

    Applications for over £5000 will be judged by a Local Assessment Panel.

    The Local Assessment Panel includes representatives from the AONB team, Natural England, the local farming and land management community, and other specialists, drawn from the AONB Partnership’s working groups.  We expect that it will meet to make decisions every 8 weeks.

    Applications for less than £5000 will be decided upon by a senior member of the AONB team who has had no previous role in advising on the application.

    Applications will be scored on:

    Fit with Programme Outcomes – 40% of scoring weighting Value for money – 20% Sustainability / legacy – 20% Deliverability – 20%

    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 (to deliver conservation work, for example a brush harvester for grassland restoration) 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.

    Contact

    If you have a question about the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme, please email cannockchase@staffordshire.gov.uk or speak to Ian Marshall on 01785 276051 / 07989 148731.