A new Island grant scheme
From the 1st of July this year the Island has access to a new three year grant fund ‘Farming in Protected Landscape’ (the ‘Programme’). Protected landscapes are National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Background to the Programme
The Island’s AONB is a special and unique designated landscape. It needs to be managed, enhanced, and protected whilst supporting the farmers and communities who work within it and the wider local economy.
The Programme for the Island will provide additional investment to allow farmers to work in partnership to deliver bigger and better outcomes for the environment for people and for the place.
Our AONB’S fund can make an important contribution to four themes:
Delivering net zero with nature and nature-based solutions to help Islanders adapt to the unavoidable effects of climate change;
– More carbon is stored and/or sequestered
– Flood risk has been reduced
– Better understanding among farmers, land managers and the public as to what different habitats and land uses can – deliver for carbon storage and reduced carbon emissions
– The landscape is more resilient to climate change
Playing a leading role in the delivery of the Nature Recovery Network
– There is a greater area of wildlife rich habitat
– There is greater connectivity between habitats
– Existing habitat is better managed for biodiversity
– There is an increase in biodiversity
Providing a natural health service that will improve the Island’s public health and wellbeing through increased access to nature across all parts of society, as part of the Government’s green recovery;
– There are more opportunities for people to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape
– There are increased opportunities for more diverse audiences to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape
– There is greater public engagement in land management, for example through volunteering
Creating centres of excellence and green innovation that are flourishing places to live and work, each with a strong identity and cultural heritage, and high recognition as the Island’s attractive visitor destination.
– The quality and character of the landscape is reinforced or enhanced
– Historic structures and features are conserved, enhanced or interpreted more effectively
– There is an increase in the resilience of nature friendly sustainable farm businesses, which in turn contributes to a more thriving local economy
Where possible, projects should be funded which deliver on more than one of the four themes of the programme to maximise the impact of this programme. Some examples are shown below
|Enabling a farmer to deliver natural flood management projects based upon recommendations from Natural England’s Advisers and/or Catchment Sensitive Farming Officers (CSFO). Background: The Agricultural Transition Plan announced that the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme will be expanded over the period up to 2024 to cover all catchments (not just priority ones) and to provide advice on flood risk management as well as water quality. Farmers in the AONB could engage speak to their CSFO who could advise farmers on their flood risk management and water quality. Farmers could then implement the advice they gain from CSFOs by applying for funding from this programme.||Granting funding to a farmer to allow them to make a series of species recovery interventions on their land including dew pond restoration, species rich grassland restoration and the creation of refugia or hibernacula.||Improving visitor management and engagement through, for example, new permissive access routes, improvements to existing routes to make them more accessible and interpretation to help visitors understand the environment and the farmland they are visiting.||Funding to restore a series of ancient hedgerows or stone walls across a landholding, preserving the landscape character.|
|Granting funding to a farmer to allow them to make a series of species recovery interventions on their land including dew pond restoration, species rich grassland restoration and the creation of refugia or hibernacula.||Improving visitor management and engagement through, for example, new permissive access routes, improvements to existing routes to make them more accessible and interpretation to help visitors understand the environment and the farmland they are visiting.||Funding to restore a series of drystone walls across a landholding, preserving the landscape character.|
|Providing the appropriate equipment to a farmer to allow them to undertake woodland management on their land.||Enabling large scale intervention towards the long-term management of invasive species.||Enabling the development of volunteer and education opportunities through investment in appropriate infrastructure and equipment. Supporting the installation of fully-accessible facilities on-farm to enable delivery of care farm or therapeutic activities.||Supporting the survey and restoration or consolidation of archaeological features or other heritage assets.|
Working collaboratively with farmers and other land managers
The programme will be delivered in partnership with farmers and other land managers in the AONB, that is the spirit of the Programme. We know that farmers living and working on the Island know the opportunities and challenges facing their landscapes and communities the best. This programme allows the opportunity for the AONB and farmers to work better together, leading work at an individual landscape level whilst building on existing relationships.
This programme is providing funding for advice and guidance staff within the AONB. These posts will allow local staff to be out on the ground working with farmers to develop projects that work for the farmer and align with local priorities and the AONB management plan.
The AONB advice and guidance staff will have a holistic understanding of the projects being delivered across the landscape and facilitate join up between farmers where helpful. Fostering these relationships now between the AONB and farmers can help to ensure that the Landscape deliver bigger and better outcomes for people and nature both now and in the future.
Collaborative farmer groups
The AONB team will look to support projects that enable and encourage collaboration between farmers and other land managers. This could be through supporting collaborative farmer groups to support farmers in coming together to develop collaborative projects which deliver outcomes at a larger scale. Collaborations could also be encouraged between farmers and land managers engaged in access provision and visitor management, amongst others.
In order to apply to the programme, collaborative farmer groups can….
- apply through a lead applicant, who takes on the task of distributing resources to the group, managing the application process and reporting on the progress of the project.
- apply through a third party that is not part of the collaborative farmer group but acting on the behalf of the collaborative farmer group (e.g. an environmental charity). The third party will distribute the resources to the group, manage the application process and report on the progress of the project.
- apply through the AONB who has experience of working with the whole group or some its members (this would be subject to a panel decision like all other applications). The AONB can make individual payments to farmers in the collaborative farmer group or pay for necessary works and activities directly. The AONB will distribute the resources to the group, manage the application process and report on the progress of the project.
In each case it will be the responsibility of the AONB to ensure there is a partnership agreement between the participants and the lead applicant / applicant body. The application template will ask the applicant (be it the group member, 3rd party or AONB) to provide evidence of the partnership agreement(s) with the participating farmers. The AONB will support farmers to ensure the partnership agreements are in place.
Payment rates and Intervention rates
The payment and intervention rates will be determined by the type of activity that is being funded. Payment rates for activities will need to be proportionate to existing Defra funding schemes already available to farmers to ensure consistency for customers.
AONB staff will determine whether the activities that are being undertaken could be funded through the payment rates within the Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme. Projects funded through the Programme may well encompass some activities that have a Stewardship payment rate that needs to be used and some activities that do not and this is to be expected. Costs should be broken down to an item level in applications.
There are two approaches that will be considered when determining what to pay for an item.
1. Activities that have a CS payment and intervention rate
Where an activity has a CS equivalent, the AONB will be expected to pay the same payment rates and the same intervention rate for funding the activity through FiPL funding as the activity would have been paid through CS. This is to ensure consistency across Defra programmes.
2. Activities without a CS payment and intervention rate
Where an activity does not have a CS equivalent, the AONB will need to request quotes for the items. The Local Assessment Panels will judge the value for money of the quotes.
The application form will ask for three quotes from the applicant for the item; offers of funding will be based on lowest quotes other than in exceptional circumstances. Should the applicant wish to take up one of the higher quotes, they may do so but will have to cover the additional costs. For self-delivery the applicant may use day rates and costings published in Nix Farm Handbook, the Agricultural Costings Book or the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers Costings, or gain three quotes as outlined above.
The AONB will set an intervention rate for these items. Intervention rate rules apply per item rather than per project – multiple activity projects may have multiple intervention rates, depending on those activities. In all cases, applicants should seek the minimum necessary to allow the project to proceed.
|Up to 40%||Up to 40% can be paid to applicants for an activity where it is clear that grant support enables commercial gain for the applicant.||An example might include funding to support the establishment of pop-up campsites to diversify the business.|
|Up to 80%||Up to 80% can be paid to applicants for an activity where there may be some commercial gain for the applicant, but where the driving force is for the delivery of public goods.||Examples might include funding a farmer to: install hand washing facilities to allow them to host education visits, which in hosting the visits they receive a payment from the educational provider for. provide new infrastructure to enable disability suitable routes across their land to allow for educational visits. In making these changes though the farmer’s site, which includes a farm shop and a campsite, has greater accessibility.|
|80% – 100%||An intervention rate between 80-100% should be paid to applicants where it is clear that in funding an activity there is no commercial gain to the applicant. Rates can be offered at 100% where it is clearly evidenced that funding the activity will deliver value for money.||An example might include funding to improve public engagement infrastructure such as a picnic site at a beauty spot or projects to improve public access such as new permissive access routes.|
Purpose of the programme in relation to private sector interests
Some projects that support the goals of the programme in relation to climate, nature, people, and place will inevitably have a commercial dimension, and this factor is reflected accordingly in the intervention rates set out above.
However, for the avoidance of any doubt, AONB teams will need to be clear with applicants that the programme does not primarily exist to support ordinary private sector interests – rather it is about delivering for climate, nature, people, and place, in ways that are most effective for their respective areas. Other sorts of proposals will be better suited to alternative programmes.
For more information contact:
Mob: 07851 093532