Farming in Protected Landscapes

The Defra-funded Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) Programme opened for applications in July 2021 and runs through to March 2024. Find out about how the Programme can benefit the Northumberland National Park farming and land management community, and advice on creating a strong application, below.

Protected Landscapes – our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – 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 2024.

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 AONB and National Park staff from across the country.

Northumberland National Park had £270,000 to award in year one of the Programme, and will be awarding £350,000 in year two and £210,000 in year three. A list of the successful projects so far can be found here.

Year two of the Programme started on 01 April 2022, and the FiPL team are now accepting year two and year three expressions of interest and applications.

Applications received before the 06 May 2022 will go to the next Local Assessment Panel meeting which is on Monday 23 May 2022.

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, 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.

For example, the Programme might support:

  • Restoring drystone walls across a landholding
  • Creating wader scrapes, or creating ponds to support a variety of wildlife
  • Promoting connectivity between habitats
  • Restoring or creating priority habitats, including flower rich meadows and wading bird habitat
  • Creating and promoting a series of farm walks across a cluster of farms, providing new access opportunities, links to the rights of way network and interpretation of farming and of the natural and historic features on the land
  • Conserving historic features on a farm, such as lime kilns or traditional buildings
  • Supporting a locally-branded food initiative which promotes the links between the product and the landscape in which it is produced
  • Action to reduce carbon emissions on a farm
  • Whole farm planning for conservation, energy efficiency and economic resilience, including in farmer clusters
  • Gathering data and evidence to help inform conservation and farming practice
  • Working with new audiences to enable them to experience the Protected Landscape

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

Payment Rates

The FiPL 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, 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 could 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 01 April 2024.

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.

We are now taking year two and year three expressions of interest and applications.

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 £5,000 and over will be judged by a Local Assessment Panel.  This kind of system has been used locally before the LEADER programme.

The Local Assessment Panel is made up of eight people from bodies including: Forest of Northumberland National Park Authority, Natural England, RPA, as well as members from the local farming and land management sector.

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

Applications for less than £5,000 will be decided upon by a senior member of the Northumberland National Park Authority team (who has no prior knowledge of the project).

Further Information