Getting to grips with a new grant scheme

CLA Land Use Policy Adviser Cameron Hughes explains how farmers and land managers can benefit from a protected landscapes grant

This week, Defra launched its Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) grant scheme, which opens for applications from July 1.

The scheme forms part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan and has been designed to provide funding support to farmers and land managers in England’s 44 ‘protected landscapes’ in England - National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Norfolk Broads. Each of the 44 protected landscape areas will be allocated a budget and will be responsible for assessing and awarding funding for projects.

FiPL will fund projects that deliver on at least one of four themes - climate, nature, people and place. Examples of potential projects include actions to reduce carbon emissions on farm, conserving historic features on farm, or promoting connectivity between habitats.

Key facts for applicants

  • First window opens on 1 July and runs to 31 January 2022
  • Funding can cover infrastructure or activities that deliver under the four themes
  • Successful applicants could receive up to 100% of their project costs
  • Assessment panels will meet every six to eight weeks throughout the application window
  • Applications can be made by individual businesses or multiple businesses can submit a joint application
  • The application form itself is detailed and runs into 17 pages
  • Each protected landscape will have a FiPL Officer to guide applicants through the application process and amend applications if necessary
  • The scheme may provide support for activities on land outside but adjacent to the protected landscapes provided they demonstrate benefit

Further detail

The assessment panels, for projects over £5,000, will be made up of staff from the protected landscape as well as independent organisations such as the CLA, Natural England or local specialists. It is a requirement that each panel must have some farming representation, though the exact composition of panels will decided by the protected landscape. Applications with a value of less than £5,000, will be assessed by a senior member of staff from the Protected Landscape.

As well as delivering under at least one of the four themes, applications will be scored against the following criteria-project outcomes (40% weighting), value for money (20%), sustainability or legacy of projects (20%) and ability of the applicant/s to deliver the project (20%).

Funded infrastructure such as fences and gates or machinery should be maintained for at least five years following the funding allocation. The requirement to continue facilitating a funded activity such as a volunteer group will cease at the end of the programme on 31 March 2024.

Relationship to other schemes

Applicants that are participating in existing agri-environment schemes, such as Countryside Stewardship, will be able to apply for FiPL, provided that the same activity is not being paid for twice. FiPL is separate to the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, and the programme will have ended by full roll-out of ELM in 2024.

Future

The first application window will run from 1 July to the 31 January 2022, with the intention being to have one application window per year until the scheme ends on 31 March 2024. Whilst funding allocations for the first year have been confirmed, allocations for the years two and three of the programme will be made in the government’s 2022 spending review.

Next steps

Act now - protected landscapes will allocate funding on a first-come-first-served basis, therefore applicants would be advised to familiarise themselves with the grant criteria and contact their local FiPL officer to have an initial discussion.

Find out more

To find out more about the funding for farmers in protected landscapes scheme visit the government's website: www.gov.uk/guidance/funding-for-farmers-in-protected-landscapes.

Key contact:

Cameron Hughes
Cameron Hughes Land Use Policy Adviser