Farming in Protected Landscapes

Farming in Protected Landscapes is a grant programme for farmers, land managers and people in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).

Aerial by mike page

The programme, developed by Defra, and delivered locally through the Broads Authority and Norfolk Coast AONB, supports farmers and land managers in carrying out projects that support the natural environment, mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide public access opportunities or support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses.

The programme runs from July 2021 until March 2024.

The programme at a glance

As of 23 September 2021:

  • There have been 35 expressions of interest, with 29 active discussions taking place.
  • Eight applications have been received.
  • Five applications have been approved.
  • £148,301 has been committed so far (65%), with  £79,053 (35%) still available until 31 January 2021.

Eligibility

The programme is open to all farmers and land managers from the private, public and charity sector.

You must manage all the land included in the application and have control of all the activities you’d like to undertake, or you must have written consent from all parties who have this management and control.

Other organisations and individuals can apply, if it’s in collaboration with a farmer or land manager, supports a farmer or a group of farmers.

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

Funding for the Broads National Park and Norfolk Coast AONB will be allocated through a transparent application process managed by the Broads Authority and the Norfolk Coast Partnership.

Applications for over £2,000 to a maximum of £75,000 will be judged by a local board (Broads and Norfolk Coast Land Managers Board).

The board will be made up of 8 to 18 people including several representatives of the farming and land-owning community and the Broads Authority, the Norfolk Coast Partnership and Natural England. Other specialists such as Rural Payments Agency and Environment Agency will be invited to attend as required.

Applications for less than £5,000 will be decided upon by the Chief Executive of the Broads Authority or the Responsible Budget Officer for the Norfolk Coast AONB, with a minimum grant award of £2,000.

This is a programme of funding for one-off projects, not an agri-environment scheme. Carrying out a project through this programme will not affect your ability to enter the new environmental land management schemes.

Applying for funding

Before applying, we require you to contact the Farming in Protected Landscapes team at the Broads Authority / Norfolk Coast Partnership to discuss your application.

We also suggest you read the Guidance for applicants - Broads and Norfolk Coast (PDF) document first for more details on eligibility.

Applications for the first year of funding should be made between 1 July 2021 and 31 January 2022.

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.

Multi-year awards are possible for longer projects, although the funding has not yet been guaranteed by DEFRA for year 2 and year 3. All projects must end by March 2024.

Ideally, the Farming in Protected Landscapes project officers will visit your potential project location and meet you to discuss your ideas.

What will the funding pay for?

The funding will pay for farmland-based projects on one landholding or across a number of holdings which provide direct benefits to the Broads National Park or the Norfolk Coast AONB.

For example, the programme might support projects that focus on:

  • Restoring rivers to provide biodiversity and natural flood management benefits.
  • Creating connectivity between habitats, including hedge planting.
  • Whole farm planning and actions for water, conservation, energy efficiency and economic resilience, including in farmer clusters.
  • Improving soil health and minimise soil loss and implement regenerative farm practices.
  • Taking unproductive land out of production to deliver combined nature benefits.
  • Improving efficiency of farming-related water, carbon and nutrient use and storage.
  • Creating new habitat for breeding waders, or creating ponds to support a variety of wildlife.
  • Conserving historic features on a farm, such as mill buildings or burial mounds.
  • Supporting traditional land management industries such as graziers and reed-cutters with equipment.
  • Creating and promoting a series of farm walks across a number of farms, providing new access opportunities.
  • Replacing stiles with gates on public footpaths to promote easier higher quality access.
  • Supporting a locally branded farm product initiative which promotes the links between the product and the landscape in which it is produced.
  • Gathering data and evidence to help inform conservation and farming practice.
  • Assessing farm business advice, working with new audiences to enable them to experience Protected Landscapes.

What outcomes are expected?

The Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme will pay for projects that provide value for money and meet at least one of the outcomes in these four themes.

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

Nature outcomes

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

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 farm business resilience

Your project must help to deliver at least one of the objectives in the Broads Plan or the Norfolk Coast Management Plan, whichever is relevant to your location.

Projects funded so far

A range of projects have been funded so far:

Broads

  1. Refurbishment of reed harvesting machinery
  2. Tunstead Rainwater Reservoir and environmental area
  3. People Carrying Trailer for Educational Visits and Public Access
  4. Direct Drilling – Regenerative Agriculture in Broadland
  5. Composting Farmyard and Poultry Manures
  6. Ranworth farms, Leists farm marsh managing water, access and nature
  7. Sedge harvesting and sedge bed restoration
  8. Improving nutrient efficiency use application by detailed monitoring and nutrient reduction activities

Norfolk Coast

  1. Creation of footdrains and scrapes for breeding waders
  2. Weed Wiper
  3. Permissive Path Improvements Holkham
  4. Pasture Cropping System
  5. Brookhill farm resilience and biodiversity project

Is my land eligible?

You can check if your land is within the boundaries of the Broads National Park or Norfolk Coast AONB protected landscapes on the MAGIC mapping website. Follow these steps:

  1. Select Designations
  2. Select Land-based designations
  3. Select Statutory
  4. Untick all boxes apart from Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (England) and National Parks (England).

For projects that meet the protected landscapes outcomes by working on land outside the protected landscapes, you can check if your land is within the eligible area of the Broadland rivers catchment or the catchments of the Norfolk Coast AONB on the Environment Agency - Catchment Data Explorer.

Maintenance agreements

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 (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.

Payment rates

If an applicant will not make a commercial gain through a project, they could receive up to 100% of the costs.

Where an applicant would benefit commercially from a project, they could receive between 40% and 80% of the costs through the Programme, depending on how much commercial benefit the project will give them.

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 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).

Contact us

To discuss your application or have any questions, please contact the Farming in Protected Landscapes Team using our enquiry form.

Alternatively, for the Broads National Park

Call: Andrea Kelly on 01603 756015

Email: andrea.kelly@broads-authority.gov.uk

Or Norfolk Coast Partnership call: Gemma Clark on 01328 850539

Email: gemma.clark@norfolk.gov.uk

As we receive further information from Defra, we will update this webpage.

Documents

Please find relevant documentation below: