“This is a farmed landscape. Farmers have shaped it for millennia, and are responsible for much of its natural beauty now protected for the nation.”
Farmers and land managers in England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) will be given grants to make improvements to the natural environment, cultural heritage and public access.
The three-year programme, Farming in Protected Landscapes, opened on 1st July to support nature recovery, mitigate the effects of climate change, and provide ways for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape.
There will be around £500,000 to support projects in the Dorset AONB until the end of March 2022 and it is expected the scheme will continue until March 2024. A similar fund is also available in the Cranborne Chase AONB.
Dr Phil Sterling, Dorset AONB Chairman said, “this is a farmed landscape. Farmers have shaped it for millennia, and are responsible for much of its natural beauty now protected for the nation. This fund will support them to continue their stewardship of this very special place.”
Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, continued, “we know this is a challenging time for farmers as government support for agriculture changes. We hope this fund can help our AONBs’ farmers through this transition.”
National Parks and AONBs are living, working landscapes that support communities and businesses, but are also home to a huge range of habitats and species. They are also places that are enjoyed by millions of visitors and residents every year. The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme will fund a range of projects to help look after these areas.
The programme will provide funding for one-off projects which allow farmers and land managers in protected landscapes to:
- support nature recovery – such as increasing habitats to improve biodiversity or greater connectivity between habitats
- mitigate the impacts of climate change – such as reducing flood risk or storing more carbon
- provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage
- support nature-friendly and sustainable farm businesses
Projects will be assessed by a local panel to ensure they provide value for money, a legacy from the work, and meet at least one of the scheme’s outcomes, for people, nature, climate or place. Projects should also meet at least one of the aims of the Dorset AONB Management Plan.
Projects to help to mitigate the effects of climate change might include measures to reduce flood risk through natural flood management, or by taking action to reduce a farm’s carbon emissions. Action for nature recovery might include land being improved for wildlife, by creating new habitats or by changing the way land is managed to deliver better results for nature.
Other eligible projects can focus on ‘place’, improving the quality and character of the landscape. These might be restoring and maintaining some of the landscape features and historic assets that make our AONBs so distinctive.
Helping people to enjoy and understand the landscape is a priority, and this programme will support projects including those that provide more opportunities for people to access and explore AONBs.
The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme will run from 2021 to 2024, and proposals are invited from 1 July 2021. Further information can be obtained by the Dorset AONB team. The funding is for one-off projects and is not an agri-environment scheme. Receiving funding from this programme will not prevent farmers or land managers from participating in the emerging Environmental Land Management Schemes, and projects on land within existing stewardship agreements can be funded provided they are additional to the current agreement.