The second round of Defra’s Landscape Recovery scheme is now open for applications, with Defra announcing last week that £15m of funding will be available to fund up to 25 projects.
Landscape Recovery is the Defra scheme which aims to fund large scale and long term landscape restoration projects through a blend of public and private finance. The projects are expected to last for at least 20 years and will cover at least 500 hectares.
In round two, Defra is inviting applications for projects which work towards achieving net zero carbon emissions, improving the condition of protected sites, or creating new habitats.
Responding to the announcement, CLA President Mark Tufnell said:
Land managers across the country are determined to play their part in fighting climate change and nature decline. This funding will help to encourage the design and delivery of innovative new projects alongside sustainable food production – and we strongly encourage our members to engage with this key pillar of the Environmental Land Management schemes
How the scheme works
Rather than inviting bids for funding the full term of the proposed project, Defra invites applications to bid for a share of the funding to develop the idea. Successful applicants receive funding for a two-year period to establish and finalise their plans for the long term project.
In the first round of funding, 22 projects were supported and no two projects were the same. Collectively, they aim to protect more than 263 species and restore over 600km of river using a combination of public and private finance. The selected projects cover large areas of land and will deliver environmental improvement on a landscape scale. Some of the round one projects the CLA spoke to involved rewiggling rivers, natural flood management, and creating wildlife corridors.
The project themes for round two have been selected to help achieve government targets around reaching economy wide net zero carbon emissions, improving the condition of protected sites, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and habitat creation. Projects which contribute towards more than one theme will be scored more highly.
Unlike under the other Environmental Land Management schemes, Landscape Recovery projects do not have payment rates or prescribed actions, but instead are expected to provide a plan for how a blend of public and private finance will fund the project and deliver landscape scale restoration. This might involve Countryside Stewardship payments, Biodiversity Net Gain agreements, or even eco-tourism.
How to apply
The deadline for applications is 21 September, with decisions expected to be made the end of November. There is a minimum area requirement of 500 hectares, so whilst individual land managers are not ruled out, collaboration between groups of landowners and farmers is strongly encouraged. The application form considers the current and proposed land use, the ability of the project to deliver environmental benefits, and how different land managers will work together.
The scheme is competitive, and applications will be scored on their environmental and social impact, and value for money, amongst other criteria. A new condition for round two is the inclusion of food production in the scoring, to ensure that the role of sustainable food production is considered.
How the CLA can help
There is plenty of application guidance available from Defra, including webinars and full details of the application and scoring process.
The CLA has a range of useful resources available for members including a Guidance Note and webinar on legal and tax considerations for environmental collaboration. Our friendly CLA advisors are also on hand with helpful advice.