Get funding for farming in protected landscapes

If you’re a farmer or land manager, you can get funding to support and improve Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), National Parks and the Broads.

Applies to England

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 AONBs, 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
  • protect or improve the quality and character of the landscape or place

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme has been developed by Defra with the support of AONBs and National Park staff from across England.

The programme will run until March 2025.

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 would like to do

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

Other organisations and individuals can apply when collaborating 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 climate, nature, people 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

Your project should deliver:

  • 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

Your project should deliver:

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

People outcomes

Your project should deliver:

  • 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

Your project should deliver:

  • 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 (you must deliver this along with other outcomes)

The programme might fund projects:

  • 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
  • that support a locally branded food initiative, promoting the links between the product and the landscape in which it is produced
  • that take 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 (CS) activity, you will be paid the same as the CS rate.

If your project is not the same as a CS 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

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.

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

You can submit your application anytime up until the programme closes for applications in 2025.

Your project must end by March 2025.

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 £10,000 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 £10,000 will be scored by a senior member of the team who has not been involved with or given advice to the application.

Contact your local protected landscape body

Arnside and Silverdale AONB

Blackdown Hills AONB

Broads National Park

Cannock Chase AONB

Chichester Harbour AONB

Chilterns AONB

Cornwall AONB

Cotswolds AONB

Cranborne Chase AONB

Dartmoor National Park

Dedham Vale AONB

Dorset AONB

East Devon AONB

Exmoor National Park

Forest of Bowland AONB

High Weald AONB

Howardian Hills AONB

Isle of Wight AONB

Isles of Scilly AONB

Kent Downs AONB

Lake District National Park

Lincolnshire Wolds AONB

Malvern Hills AONB Unit

Mendip Hills AONB

New Forest National Park

Nidderdale AONB

Norfolk Coast AONB

North Devon AONB

North Pennines AONB

North Wessex Downs AONB

North York Moors National Park

Northumberland National Park

Northumberland Coast AONB

Peak District National Park

Quantock Hills AONB

Shropshire Hills AONB

Solway Coast AONB

South Devon AONB

South Downs National Park

Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB

Surrey Hills AONB

Tamar Valley AONB

The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Wye Valley AONB

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Published 24 June 2021
Last updated 17 May 2023 + show all updates
  1. Under header for 'How applications will be assessed', changed £5,000 to £10,000 to reflect raised threshold for the value of project applications. Requested by SME.

  2. Updated date when Farming in Protected Landscapes programme runs until, from 2024 to 2025.

  3. Updated some links in 'Contact your local protected landscape body' section so they go to the relevant page about farming in protected landscapes.

  4. First published.