Farming in Protected Landscapes

The Defra-funded Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme opened for applications in July 2021 and runs through to March 2025. Find out how the programme can benefit the Northumberland National Park farming and land management community, and gain advice on creating a strong application.

Protected Landscapes – our National Parks and National Landscapes – are special and unique places. They 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.

To help do this, Defra has introduced the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, which runs from July 2021 to March 2025.

We welcome applications for year four funding.

Meet the FiPL team

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme team have a wealth of first-hand farming experience and are available to provide advice on FiPL funding applications to farmers and land managers.

Sally Graham, FiPL Programme Manager

About Sally:Sally Graham, FiPL Programme Manager

I started working for the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme in 2021, which was a change from practical day to day delivery, to advising and delivering a grant scheme to aid adaptation to changes in funding for farmers and land-managers addressing some of the challenges and enabling opportunities. Before this role, I worked as a National Park Ranger since 2003, which was a dream come true for me following

working for several environmental organisations after graduating with a degree in Environmental Science.

Sally Graham, FiPL Programme Manager
Lee Dobson / NNP

Favourite thing about Northumberland National Park: The diversity of the landscape and the changing seasons makes spending time in Northumberland National Park unique. The tranquillity that can be found in the park, listening to the surrounding nature such as skylark singing, curlew calling and the sound of running water in the burns is special and one of my favourite things. The flower-rich meadows and verges is something that I particularly enjoy, seeing all the different species of plants with such a variety of flowers, leaf shapes and colours.

Contact:

Email: FIPL@nnpa.org.uk

Tel: 07795 834953

Claire Calvert, Farming and Rural Enterprise Officer (FiPL)

About Claire:
Hi, I’m Claire! I have been working on the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme since I joined the Northumberland National Park in 2022. Prior to this, I worked at the Yorkshire Dales National Park having grown up on my family farm in Wensleydale. Coming from a farming background, I understand the position that farmers find themselves in in these uncertain times, and I really enjoy my role on the programme, as I feel I’m able to relate to farmers and help them to develop ideas into successful projects. 

Favourite thing about Northumberland National Park:
My favourite thing about living and working in Northumberland National Park is the scenery. Even on a wet and wild day there is something very uniquely beautiful and intriguing about the Northumberland countryside. I enjoy getting out and about in the local area as there’s always something new to explore.

Contact:

Email: FIPL@nnpa.org.uk

Tel: 07795 834953

Jennifer Cherrie, FiPL Support Officer

About Jennifer:
Hi I’m Jennifer! I started working for Northumberland National Park in August 2023 joining the Farming in Protected Landscapes team. I have been fortunate enough to live in the North of Northumberland National Park for 13 years. Previously, I worked as a shepherd and on estates, so I understand the challenges and ever-changing climate faced by our farmers and the people that work in the landscape. I really enjoy engaging with the farmers and land managers to hear how they want to enhance the park and the land they look after. 

Favourite thing about the National Park:
My favourite thing about Northumberland National Park is how vastly different it is depending on where you visit! The landscape varies so much from the North at Cheviot to Hadrian’s Wall in the South. I am incredibly biased but do think we have some of the most stunning views. Summer is possibly my favourite season in the park!

Contact:

Email: FIPL@nnpa.org.uk

Tel: 07741194309

Overview

Through the FiPL 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.

The programme is part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan. It has been developed by Defra with support from a group of National Landscape (formerly AONB) and National Park staff from across the country.

Northumberland National Park had £270,000 in year one, £350,000 in year two and £400,000 in year three to award for FiPL projects. IN year four there is £669,000 available in funding for FiPL.

Year four of the programme started on 01 April 2024, and the FiPL team are now accepting expressions of interest and applications for this year.

The programme’s guidance for applicants document sets out the purpose and operation of the programme in more detail, and this can be found here.

 

Eligibility

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, National Landscape (formerly AONB) or the Norfolk Broads – or where activity on the ground can bring benefit to one or more of those areas.

Applicants must manage all the land included in the application and have control of all the activities requested to undertake, 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 also eligible for support through the programme; applications can be accepted from landowners with sole rights, or as a group of commoners acting together.

The programme supports activity on any land within the Northumberland National Park boundary, or other land outside of the boundary where projects can demonstrate benefit to Northumberland National Park, or the Northumberland National Park Authority’s objectives or partnership initiatives. Most of the funding will likely be awarded to projects within the National Park boundary.

You can see the boundary by visiting the MAGIC mapping website. Click on ‘designations’, ‘land-based designations’, expand ‘statutory’ and then select ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty England’ and ‘National Parks England’. More details on eligibility can be found in the guidance.

A link to Northumberland National Park’s boundary map can be found here.

Sheep being farmed in Northumberland National Park at Ingram.

What the programme will pay for?

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme will pay for projects that, in the opinion of the Local Assessment Panel, provide value for money and meet at least one of the outcomes listed below, under 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 also help to deliver at least one of the objectives of the Northumberland National Park Authority Management Plan. Details of these objectives can be found here.

To see some examples of projects we have funded so far please click here.

Our traditional buildings are a really important part of Northumberland National Park, however, due to the timescale and grant allocation constraints, the Northumberland National Park FiPL programme is unlikely to be able to fund the restoration of traditional buildings. Funding for feasibility studies for the restoration of traditional buildings will be considered.

Farming in Protected Landscapes and other funding sources

The programme will work alongside Defra’s existing and new schemes, adding value where it is most needed. If a potential project can be rewarded through a different Defra scheme, you will be made aware of it.

If you are looking for support for boundary works, including dry stone walling and hedging, please look at the Capital only scheme.

If you are looking for support with catchment sensitive farming (yard) works you will need to seek advice from the North East’s Catchment Sensitive Farming team. Information on how to seek that advice can be found here.

Large scale tree planting may be best delivered through Forestry Commission funding including the England Woodland Creation offer. If you would like to discuss farm woodland creation within Northumberland National Park, then please contact the farming team for some advice on next steps for your project.

Payment rates

The FiPL Programme will work alongside Defra’s existing and new schemes, adding value where it is most needed. If a potential project can be rewarded through those schemes instead, applicants will be made aware of these alternatives.

Where there is an equivalent Countryside Stewardship rate or Farming Investment Fund rate for the work or activity requested to be carried out, that rate will also be used in the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme. If not, the programme funding offers will be based on the projected costs of an activity (three quotations for each item must be obtained).

If commercial gain is not made through a project, applications could receive up to 100% of the costs.

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

A view of Shillmoor Farm, Green Side and Pass Peth
Shillmoor Farm, Green Side and Pass Peth, Northumberland National Park, England

Maintenance agreements

Capital infrastructure assets (including, but not limited to, fences, gates, building restoration), should be maintained for five years from the date of completion.

Machinery assets (for example a brush harvester for grassland restoration) should be maintained for five years from the date of purchase.

The requirement to maintain natural, cultural and access activities (for example, management of grassland or payments for permissive access) delivered as part of the programme will cease no later than 1 April 2025.

How to apply

To apply, please get in touch with the Northumberland National Park Authority Farming in Protected Landscapes team to discuss your ideas and find out more about how to apply. Guidance and the application form can be found below.

Multi-year awards are possible for longer projects. Please contact the team to discuss.

Alnham Moor farm in the Breamish Valley

Application assessment

Applications for £10,000 and over will be judged by a Local Assessment Panel.

The Local Assessment panel is made up of eight people from bodies including: Northumberland National Park Authority, Natural England, Rural Payment Agency, Joint Local Access Forum, Environment Agency, as well as local farmer and estate representatives.

The panel is expected to meet every six to eight weeks to make decisions.

Applications for less than £10,000 will be decided upon by a senior member of the Northumberland National Park Authority team (who has no prior knowledge of the project).