The Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) scheme provides grants to farmers and land managers in the Surrey Hills for one-off projects to make improvements to the natural environment, cultural heritage and public access on their land. Applications are open now and the scheme runs until March 2025.
Through this Defra funded 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. This is a programme of funding for one-off projects covering these areas of work, not an agri-environment scheme.
By supporting the farmers, land managers and people who live and work in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we can help protect these exceptional places and support local communities.
The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is open to all farmers and land managers (including from the private, public and charity sector) in the Surrey Hills AONB.
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.
The programme supports activity on any land within the Surrey Hills AONB and most of the funding will be provided to projects within the AONB boundary. It can also support activity on other land where projects can demonstrate benefit to the Surrey Hills, or the AONB Partnership’s objectives or partnership initiatives.
You can see the boundary by visiting the MAGIC mapping website. Click on ‘designations’, ‘land-based designations’ and then ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty England.’
The programme will pay for projects that, in the opinion of the Local Assessment Panel provide value for money and meet at least one of the outcomes listed below, under four themes.
Your project must also help to deliver at least one of the aims identified in the Executive Summary of the Surrey Hills AONB Management Plan.
Within the 4 core FiPL themes of Nature, Climate, People and Place, and whilst delivering the Surrey Hills AONB Management Plan priorities and the Nature Recovery Strategy aims, the highest scoring will be given to applications which meet the following:
The kinds of projects the programme might support include:
Where there is no commercial gain – up to 100% of the costs.
Where an applicant would benefit commercially from a project – 40% to 80% depending on how much commercial benefit is derived.
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, funding offers will be based on the projected costs of an activity.
The minimum grant will be £1,000 and the maximum will be £25,000 for individual projects. Exceptional projects which can demonstrate true collaboration and landscape scale outcomes could be funded up to £50,000.
Farming in Protected Landscapes and other funding sources
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. Note that those seeking support for machinery to increase productivity should utilise the Countryside Productivity Scheme rather than project grants through Farming in Protected Landscapes.
Large scale tree planting may be best delivered through Forestry Commission funding including the England Woodland Creation Offer.
Applications for over £5000 will be judged by a Local Assessment Panel.
The Local Assessment Panel includes representatives from the AONB team, Natural England, the farming and land management community, and other specialists, drawn from the AONB Partnership’s working groups. We expect that it will meet to make decisions every 6 to 8 weeks.
Applications for less than £5000 will be decided upon by a senior member of the AONB team who has had no previous role in advising on the application.
Applications will be scored on:
Fit with Programme Outcomes – 40% of scoring weighting
Value for money – 20%
Sustainability / legacy – 20%
Deliverability – 20%
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 (to deliver conservation work, 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 2025.
If you have a question about the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme, please email email@example.com or telephone 0208 541 8697 or 07791 419334.