The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, being delivered in the Cotswolds by the Cotswolds National Landscape team, has already allocated almost one million pounds in grant funding since the programme launched in July 2021.
The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme was created and launched by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The aim of the three year programme is to help farmers, land managers, and others deliver work on the farmed landscape under the themes of climate, nature, people, and place.
Through the 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. The programme is part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan and has been developed with the support of a group of AONB and National Park colleagues from across the country.
In the Cotswolds, 38 projects have been approved so far, with allocated grants exceeding £950,000. With match funding included, the supported projects are valued at over £1.6 million in total project costs, representing a huge investment in the Cotswolds landscape.
Funding has been allocated to a wide range of creative and considered projects: from accessible paths across farmland showcasing organic arable and livestock farming; to owl and kestrel boxes, and farmland bird conservation helping support wildlife; to hedgerow creation and restoration to increase biodiversity and help capture carbon; a rural skills education centre to increase accessibility and education; to a demonstration farm highlighting regenerative farming and conservation grazing – applicants have impressed the assessment panel with the breadth of their projects, and their understanding of the key themes outlined by Defra.
The previous application deadline has now been dropped by Defra, so applications are now open until the end of the programme, or until the remaining funds (just over £1 million) are fully allocated – whichever happens first.
Scott Brown, Farming Engagement Lead for Cotswolds National Landscape, said, “It’s a real privilege to be working with farmers in the Cotswolds National Landscape. So many of them are genuinely committed to producing great quality food and looking after this special place for others to enjoy. With major changes in farming and environmental policy now well underway, coupled with the urgent need to tackle the climate and nature emergency, it’s a time of great uncertainty and huge challenges for the sector. But there’s clearly a willingness to adapt, and seize opportunities that will lead to a more prosperous future, not only for farmers, but for people, wildlife and the planet. This deserves our recognition and support. By funding and showcasing just some of the fantastic work farmers do in the Cotswolds, I hope the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme offers a bit of that recognition and support, and helps to lay the groundwork for more farmer-led activity in future.”
Farming in Protected Landscapes is a three year programme which will run until March 2024. More information can be found online at https://www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/looking-after/farming-in-protected-landscapes/ or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors:
- Please contact Alana Hopkins at email@example.com for further information or interview opportunities.
- For more information about the Farming in Protected Landscapes, please visit https://www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/looking-after/farming-in-protected-landscapes/
- The Cotswolds National Landscape was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
- The Cotswolds National Landscape is looked after by an independent organisation (officially titled Cotswolds Conservation Board) established in 2004 which has a small employee team along with 37 board members – 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
- The Cotswolds is the third largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further details, visit: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 15 National Parks in the UK visit: www.nationalparks.uk