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Farming in Protected Landscapes

Management Plan strand: Local Communities and the Rural Economy

Brief project summary:

Farming in Protected Landscapes is a grant programme for farmers, land managers and people in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).

The programme, developed by Defra, and delivered locally through the Broads Authority and Norfolk Coast Partnership supports farmers and land managers in carrying out projects that support the natural environment, mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide public access opportunities or support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses.

Project aim and objectives:

The programme aims to supports farmers and land managers in carrying out projects that support the natural environment, mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide public access opportunities or support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses

Partners involved: Defra, Broads Authority, Norfolk Coast Partnership

Funded by: Broads Authority and Norfolk Coast Partnership

Start date & finish date: July 2021 until March 2024 

Latest update: 

Eligibility

The programme is open to all farmers and land managers from the private, public and charity sector.

You must manage all the land included in the application and have control of all the activities you’d like to undertake, or you must have written consent from all parties who have this management and control.

Other organisations and individuals can apply, if it’s in collaboration with a farmer or land manager, supports a farmer or a group of farmers.

Common land is eligible for support. You can apply as a landowner with sole rights or as a group of commoners acting together.

Funding for the Broads National Park and Norfolk Coast AONB will be allocated through a transparent application process managed by the Broads Authority and the Norfolk Coast Partnership.

Applications for over £2,000 to a maximum of £50,000 will be judged by a local board (Broads and Norfolk Coast Land Managers Board).

The Board will be made up of 8 to 18 people including several representatives of the farming and land-owning community and the Broads Authority, the Norfolk Coast Partnership and Natural England. Other specialists such as Rural Payments Agency and Environment Agency will be invited to attend as required.

Applications for less than £5,000 will be decided upon by the Chief Executive of the Broads Authority or the Manager of the Norfolk Coast AONB, with a minimum grant award of £2,000.

This is a programme of funding for one-off projects, not an agri-environment scheme. Carrying out a project through this programme will not affect your ability to enter the new environmental land management schemes.

Applying for funding

Before applying, we require you to contact the Farming in Protected Landscapes team at the Broads Authority/Norfolk Coast Partnership to discuss your application.

We also suggest you read theGuidance for Applicants for the Broads and Norfolk Coast document first for more details on eligibility.

Funding will be awarded to successful applicants throughout the application window, rather than after the window closes, so you should submit your application as soon as it is ready.

Multi-year awards are possible for longer projects, although the funding has not yet been guaranteed by DEFRA for year 2 and year 3. All projects must end by March 2024.

Ideally, the Farming in Protected Landscapes advisers will visit your potential project location and meet you to discuss your ideas.

What will the funding pay for?

The funding will pay for farmland-based projects on one landholding or across a number of holdings which provide direct benefits to the Broads National Park or the Norfolk Coast AONB.

For example, the programme might support projects that:

  • Restoring rivers to provide biodiversity and natural flood management benefits
  • Creating connectivity between habitats, including hedge planting
  • Whole farm planning and actions for water, conservation, energy efficiency and economic resilience, including in farmer clusters
  • Improving soil health and minimise soil loss and implement regenerative farm practices
  • Taking unproductive land out of production to deliver combined nature benefits
  • Improving efficiency of farming-related water, carbon and nutrient use and storage
  • Creating new habitat for breeding waders, or creating ponds to support a variety of wildlife
  • Conserving historic features on a farm, such as mill buildings or burial mounds
  • Supporting traditional land management industries such as graziers and reed-cutters with equipment
  • Creating and promoting a series of farm walks across a number of farms, providing new access opportunities
  • Replacing stiles with gates on public footpaths to promote easier higher quality access
  • Supporting a locally branded farm product initiative which promotes the links between the product and the landscape in which it is produced
  • Gathering data and evidence to help inform conservation and farming practice
  • Assessing farm business advice, working with new audiences to enable them to experience Protected Landscapes

What outcomes are expected?

The Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme will pay for projects that provide value for money and meet at least one of the outcomes in these 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 help to deliver at least one of the objectives in the Broads Plan or the Norfolk Coast Management Plan, whichever is relevant to your location.

Is my land eligible?

You can check if your land is within the boundaries of the Broads National Park or Norfolk Coast AONB protected landscapes on the MAGIC mapping website. Follow these steps:

  1. select Designations
  2. select Land-based designations
  3. select Statutory
  4. untick all boxes apart from Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (England) and National Parks (England).

For projects that meet the protected landscapes outcomes by working on land outside the protected landscapes, you can check if your land is within the eligible area of the Broadland rivers catchment or the river catchments of the Norfolk Coast AONB on the Environment Agency – Catchment Data Explorer.

Maintenance agreements  

Capital infrastructure assets (including, but not limited to, fences, gates, building restoration), should be maintained for 5 years from the date of completion.

Machinery assets (for example a brush harvester for grassland restoration) should be maintained for 5 years from the date of purchase.

The requirement to maintain natural, cultural and access activities (for example, management of grassland, restoration of a limekiln) delivered as part of programme will cease no later than 1 April 2024.

Payment rates

If an applicant will not make a commercial gain through a project, they 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.

The 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, you will be made aware of them.

If an activity is equivalent to one under Countryside Stewardship (CS), the Programme payment rate will be the same as the CS rate. If not, we will base Programme funding offers on the projected costs of an activity (with final payments made against evidenced costs).

Projects funded so far 

In the first year of the programme in the Norfolk Coast AONB there were:

  • 17 expressions of interest
  • 11 applications received
  • 10 applications approved
  • £173,592.87 was committed to projects

For more information please download the year one summary (PDF)

Year two of the programme so far there have been:

  • 10 expressions of interest
  • 5 applications received
  • 4 applications approved
  • £67,606.00 committed to projects

For more information please download the year two summary (PDF)

Case study: Rotary Ditcher at Holkham

 

Jake Fiennes, General Manager of Conservation at Holkham Estate, successfully applied for a rotary ditcher and explains the benefits it will bring to the area:

“We are endlessly being told that we must work at landscape scale across boundaries and designations. The Rotary Ditcher project is a prime example of this, creating and restoring freshwater marshes along the north Norfolk coast.

The project started work on the National Trust land at Cley and made its way along the coastline, stopping off at a series of farm businesses until it arrived at the Holkham National Nature Reserve. It then continued along the coast finishing up at Wild Ken Hill. Over 100 hours of ditching took place creating a series of low lying features and scrapes covering several kilometres in length. It didn’t take long for nature to find these new pools.

First to arrive was an opportunist wagtail and, as the features were slowly filled, the iconic Pink-Feet geese arrived followed by Wigeon. The work carried out was starting to have benefits. More exciting will be the arrival of waders including Lapwing Redshank and Avocet that will make their breeding homes in the spring on all of the sites.

By working along the entire coast we get to spread populations rather than have singular honeypots of productivity. All of the sites will be surveyed in the spring of 2022 for breeding waders and a report will follow in the autumn of increase is in populations and productivity.”

Case study: Accessible paths at Holkham NNR

 

Holkham National Nature Reserve has in excess of 800,000 visitors per year. Much of the reserve is permissive open access and the coastal path runs from east to west.

In the winter of 2019/20 Norfolk Trails upgraded the coastal path from the Beach Road at Wells through to Lady Anne’s Drive. Thereafter the coastal path heads north and runs along the sand dunes. Many visitors make use of the coastal path whilst others choose to head west and join the beach beyond Holkham Bay.

This piece of pathway sees significant footfall but was inaccessible to many visitors due to the condition of the path. Making use of a dry October, over 400 tonnes of material was shipped in. The pathway was reprofiled and top-dressed. This will allow unhindered access for wheelchair users and also cyclists enabling them to access two of the bird hides.

Case study: Pasture cropping at Ken Hill

 

Ken Hill Estate in Snettisham were awarded funding for a striptill.

The project will put into practice an innovative system of pasture cropping, allowing for continuous cover of grasses, legumes or wildflowers and strip drilling heritage varieties of crops in between.

The pasture cropping system will be part of a new demonstration farm supporting, engage and collaborate with other farmers, land managers and stakeholders within and around the Norfolk Coast AONB.

Case study: Weed wiper to benefit wetland habitats

 

Jake Fiennes, General Manager of Conservation at Holkham Estate explains how their new weed wiper will aid their habitat improvement work:

“The purchase of a weed wiper will be instrumental tool across the entire north Norfolk coast, utilised by range of land occupiers ranging from trusts, eNGOs, and farmers who have, over the past few years, invested in the creation and management of wet grassland for breeding waders and over wintering wildfowl.

In the creation and management of these rich and diverse habitats inevitably some species become more dominant and pin reed is one of these. The weed wiper will be instrumental in ensuring the control all pin reed without having negative effects on other rich flora and fauna that exists within these habitats. The weed wiper will be available to all as and when required and photographic aerial evidence will be provided in due course to visualise the improvements made.”

Contact us

To discuss your application (a required step in the application process) or if you have any questions, please contact the Farming in Protected Landscapes Team:

Broads National Park call: Hannah Norman 07900266496

E-mail: [email protected]

Norfolk Coast Partnership call: Ed Stocker 01603 222218

E-mail:  [email protected]

As we receive further information from Defra, we will update this webpage.

Project documents:

Guidance for Applicants for the Broads and Norfolk Coast

Application Template – Broads and Norfolk Coast

A Word version of the application form will be provided once you have discussed your project with the relevant Farming in Protected Landscapes team.

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.

The 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, you will be made aware of them.

If an activity is equivalent to one under Countryside Stewardship (CS), the Programme payment rate will be the same as the CS rate. If not, we will base Programme funding offers on the projected costs of an activity (with final payments made against evidenced costs).

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