Farming in Protected Landscapes

Farming in Protected Landscapes

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.

This page was last updated on 22 June 2023 with the Year 2 update report.  

To help do this …

Defra introduced the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, which was originally planned to run from July 2021 to March 2024 but which has now been extended to run for another year (finishing March 2025).

The programme helps farmers and land managers to carry out projects that support nature’s 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 the support of a group of AONB and National Park staff from across the country. In the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Chilterns Conservation Board team will be managing the programme.

Farming in Protected Landscapes - Year 1 report
Farming in Protected Landscapes - Year 2 update

CASE STUDIES 2022-23: Chilterns Farming in Protected Landscapes projects

Since the Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme started in 2021, we’ve allocated £750,000 to 56 projects in the Chilterns, and it’s been fantastic to support and work with so many proactive farmers in the Chilterns. Here are some examples of projects that received funding in 2022-23.

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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 or AONB – or where activity on the ground can bring benefit to one or more of those areas.

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, 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 eligible for support through the Programme. You can apply as a landowner with sole rights, or as a group of commoners acting together.

The programme supports activity on any land within the Chilterns AONB. It can also support activity on other land where projects can demonstrate benefit to the Chilterns AONB or the Chilterns Conservation Board’s objectives or partnership initiatives. Most of the funding will probably be provided to projects within the AONB boundary.

You can see the boundary by visiting the MAGIC mapping website. Click on ‘designations’, ‘land-based designations’, ‘statutory’ and then ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty England’

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Click the links to read more:

  1. The Central Chilterns Farmer Cluster hedgerow project: 8 farms worked together, making impressive achievements to landscape scale habitat creation.
  2. Ivinghoe Aston traditional orchard: The planting of 350 new fruit trees to increase biodiversity and carbon sequester.
  3. Enabling growth for Countryways CIC More people with learning difficulties and health challenges have benefitted from contact with farming.

What will the Programme pay for?

The Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme will pay for projects that, in the opinion of the Local Assessment Panel (see ‘How will my application be assessed’ below), provide value for money and meet at least one of the outcomes listed below. Please note, your project idea only needs to meet criteria for one of the themes, not all four.

Your project must also help to deliver at least one of the Strategic Objectives of the Chilterns AONB Management Plan.

Climate outcomes Nature outcomes People outcomes Place outcomes
More carbon is stored and/or sequestered There is a greater area of habitat improved for biodiversity There are more opportunities for people to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape The quality and character of the landscape is reinforced or enhanced
Flood risk is reduced There is an increase in biodiversity There are more opportunities for more diverse audiences to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape Historic structures and features are conserved, enhanced or interpreted more effectively
Farmers, land managers and the public better understand what different habitats and land uses can store carbon and reduce carbon emissions There is greater connectivity between habitats There is greater public engagement in land management, such as through volunteering There is an increase in farm business resilience.
The landscape is more resilient to climate change Existing habitat is better managed Farmers and land managers feel increasingly comfortable with providing public goods

How does it all work?

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).

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 historic feature) delivered as part of programme will cease no later than 1 April 2024.

Before applying, we would encourage you to read the guidance for applicants and to contact us to discuss your ideas and potential application.  

If you would like to proceed, please complete an application form. We are now considering applications for funding in Year 3 (ending March 2024) and Year 4 (ending March 2025). Applications can include spending in both years.  All projects must end by March 2025.

Your project must also help to deliver at least one of the Strategic Objectives of the Chilterns AONB Management Plan

  • Applications for over £10,000 will be judged by a Local Assessment Panel.
  • The Local Assessment Panel will be made up of 8 to 12 people. It will include representatives from the Chilterns AONB, Natural England, representatives from the farming and land management community, and land management and ecology specialists.
  • We expect that the panel will meet to make decisions every 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Applications for less than £10,000 will be decided upon by a senior member of the AONB team (who has no prior knowledge of the project)

If approved, a brief summary of your project will be published here on the CCB website (as required by DEFRA) in order to share information on how funding is being used. The list showcases the impressive variety of projects being delivered in the Chilterns AONB through the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme and represents a significant amount of hard work and commitment on the part of the applicants.

Download the approved projects

Application materials

icon Read the guidance for applicants

icon Download the application form

icon Download project costs table (to accompany application)

icon Download Not Registered for VAT Form

Need more information?

Farmer Cluster Case Study Front Page ImageIf you have a question about the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme, please complete the enquiry form, email or call 01844 445018.

For ideas on working collaboratively at landscape scale read about the highly successful farmer-led cluster approach adopted in the Central Chilterns. We are keen to use the fund to support similar approaches elsewhere in the AONB.


Central Chilterns Farmer Cluster case study
Farming in Protected Landscapes - Year 1 report
Farming in Protected Landscapes - Year 2 update

Related news

New report celebrates Farming in Protected Landscapes

More than 5,000 farmers and land managers have now benefited from the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, new figures have shown.

New film: National Hedgelaying Championships comes to the Chilterns

Did you know hedges were used as living fences, marking ownership and keeping animals in or out of a field?...

The Heart of the Chilterns: Volunteers #5 Hefin Rhys, Chess Watch Volunteer

Hazel spent a year learning butterfly, bird and plants identification and survey methodology with the 'Tracking the Impact' project.

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Chilterns AONB Management Plan

The Chilterns AONB Management Plan 2019-24: Caring for the Chilterns forever and for everyone contains a comprehensive summary of the key issues facing the AONB and the management policies and actions needed to conserve this special place.