Arnolds Keys – Irelands Agricultural rural practice surveyor Jamie Manners explains how to apply for funding from the Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme.

In the current economic climate, it’s not often that money from the government is available, but farmers and land managers have another 16 months to take advantage of one programme aimed at bringing benefits to protected landscapes in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks including the Broads. 

The Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme is part of the government’s Agricultural Transition Plan and offers funding of up to £50,000 for one-off projects which support one of four key aims, and which are located either in an AONB or National Park or which will directly benefit these areas. 

The programme works alongside existing agri-environment schemes, which means you can make an application for a specific project even if you already hold a Countryside Stewardship agreement or are entering ELMS, as long as the same work is not paid for twice (i.e. double funding). 

Eastern Daily Press:  Arnolds Keys – Irelands Agricultural rural practice surveyor Jamie Manners Arnolds Keys – Irelands Agricultural rural practice surveyor Jamie Manners (Image: Arnolds Keys)

As well as supporting the protected landscape’s management plan and providing value for money, the project must support at least one of the specified outcomes: supporting nature recovery; mitigating the impacts of climate change; providing opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage; and protecting or improving the quality and character of the landscape or place, and supporting sustainable farm business. 

Projects can be funded by up to 100pc, provided no commercial gain will arise from the project (in which case, only a proportion of the cost will be paid). Unlike some other schemes, the FiPL provides funding for a specific project, rather than for a set period of time. 

Allocation is made on a competitive basis – so it’s not just a matter of meeting the criteria but also of demonstrating how the project will provide value in terms of outcomes, value for money, sustainability, legacy benefits and achievability.  

Funding decisions are made locally by the Broads Authority and Norfolk Coast AONB, and, for larger projects, by a Local Assessment Panel made up of stakeholders such as landowners, statutory bodies and specialists. 

The programme started in 2021 and runs until March 2024. Applications can be made at any time and are generally assessed in around six to eight weeks. This is a finite programme with a definite end date, so farmers and land managers would do well to consider whether they can take advantage sooner rather than later. 

The application process is relatively simple but does involve liaison with the FiPL team at the local protected landscape bodies, as well as potential site visits before completing the application form. It can be worthwhile engaging an agent to help draw the project together and obtain any required consent for a project before applying. 

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