New funding for farmers to protect the English landscape

DEFRA has announced Landscape Recovery funding and support for farmers and landowners for projects to create new habitats for wildlife, help protected sites and boost efforts to reach net zero, alongside sustainable food production, the government has confirmed today.

Dr Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said “Agriculture has a huge role to play in nature recovery, ensuring that a thriving natural world is at the heart of sustainable food production. Landscape recovery encourages farmers and land managers to transform nature at a landscape scale and Natural England will use its advice and relationships to support them every step of the way.

“I hope that through this scheme more farmers and land managers will join forces, making significant progress towards the statutory Nature targets and providing the food and public goods that our society depends upon.”

Building on the success of the first round of the Landscape Recovery scheme launched last year, farmers and land managers will be able to bid for a share of £15 million initial development funding, with significantly more investment in the years to come as projects move from development to delivery.

This will help them to collaborate and work in partnership to protect and enhance landscapes in England, delivering environmental benefits on a massive scale while supporting farmers to deliver their world-renowned produce.

The second round of the scheme will support up to 25 projects which will be administered by Natural England and the Environment Agency – the lead delivery partners for the scheme. The projects will be selected based on their environmental and social impact, value for money and suitability for the scheme. In addition, for the first time, Defra has introduced a food production criterion which will be used to ensure prospective projects take food production into consideration and mitigate any negative impacts on this where possible.

Alan Lovell, Chair of the Environment Agency, said “This second round of Landscape Recovery will take us further down the track toward becoming a nation that is resilient to climate change and rich in ecological diversity.”

The scheme will focus on projects of at least 500 hectares which could include landscape scale projects creating and enhancing woodland including temperate rainforest, peatland, nature reserves and protected sites such as ancient woodlands, wetlands and salt marshes.

Secretary of State for Food and Farming Thérèse Coffey said “Landscape Recovery is one of our three Environmental Land Management schemes which provide the funding and support for farmers in England through the biggest change in a generation. The scheme is already supporting 22 inspiring landscape-scale projects across England with development funding and the second round will help more farmers and land managers take collective action through involvement in bespoke projects that will make a real difference in reaching net zero and supporting valuable habitats, while continuing to support sustainable food production.

“Funding for Landscape Recovery will be provided from the government’s £2.4 billion annual investment into the farming sector, which is guaranteed for the rest of this Parliament, with every penny of the reductions to farmers’ direct payments reinvested back into farming.”

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