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Farming in Protected Landscapes

We want to explain what the Defra-funded Farming in Protected Landscapes programme can support and how it will work, to encourage strong applications from the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape farming and land management community. 

Protected Landscapes 

Protected Landscapes – our National Landscapes and National Parks – are special and unique places. They are living, working landscapes that also support a wide range of habitats and species, and they are enjoyed by millions of people every year. 


By supporting the farmers, land managers and people who live and work in these areas, we can help protect these exceptional places and support local communities. 

To help do this, Defra is introducing the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, which will run from July 2021 to March 2025

Through the programme, farmers and land managers are 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. The programme is part of Defra’s Agricultural

Transition Plan and has been developed by Defra with the support of a group of National Landscape and National Park staff from across the country. 


The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is open to all farmers and land managers (including from the private, public and charity sector) in the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape – or where activity on the ground can bring benefit to the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape. 


You must manage all the land included in the application and have control of all the activities you’d like to undertake, or you must have written consent from all parties who have this management and control.  

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.  

Common land is eligible for support through the Programme. You can apply as a landowner with sole rights, or as a group of commoners acting together.  


The programme supports activity on land within the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape. It can also support activity on other land where projects can demonstrate benefit to Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape, or the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape objectives or partnership initiatives. Most of the funding will be provided to projects within the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape boundary.

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.’

What the Programme will pay for

The Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme will pay for projects that, in the opinion of the Local Assessment Panel (see ‘Application assessment’ below) provide value for money and meet at least one of the outcomes listed below, under four themes.

1. Climate outcomes

  • More carbon is stored and/or sequestered 
  • Flood risk is reduced 
  • Farmers, land managers and the public better understand what different habitats and land uses can store carbon and reduce carbon emissions 
  • The landscape is more resilient to climate change 

2. Nature outcomes

  • There is a greater area of habitat improved for biodiversity 
  • There is an increase in biodiversity 
  • There is greater connectivity between habitats 
  • Existing habitat is better managed 

3. People outcomes

  • There are more opportunities for people to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape 
  • There are more opportunities for more diverse audiences to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape 
  • There is greater public engagement in land management, such as through volunteering 

4. Place outcomes

  • 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 farm business resilience 

Your project must also help to deliver at least one of the objectives of the Coast & Heaths Management Plan.Details of these objectives can be found in the Management Plan.

For example, the programme might support:  

  • Reprofiling a straightened watercourse, for the biodiversity and natural flood management benefits this can bring 
  • Replacing stiles with gates on public footpaths to promote easier access 
  • Creating wader scrapes, or creating ponds to support a variety of wildlife 
  • Promoting connectivity between habitats 
  • Creating and promoting a series of farm walks across a cluster of farms, providing new access opportunities, links to the rights of way network and interpretation of farming and of the natural and historic features on the land 
  • Conserving historic features on a farm 
  • Parking improvements at a key site provide safe access to popular walking routes and reduces congestion for visitors and for local residents  
  • Supporting a locally branded food initiative which promotes the links between the product and the landscape in which it is produced 
  • Action to reduce carbon emissions on a farm 
  • Whole farm planning for conservation, energy efficiency and economic resilience, including in farmer clusters 
  • Gathering data and evidence to help inform conservation and farming practice 
  • Accessing farm business advice Working with new audiences to enable them to experience the Protected Landscape 

Payment rates

Where an applicant would benefit commercially from a project, they could receive between 40% and 80% of the costs through the programme, depending on how much commercial benefit the project will give them.


Where there will be no commercial gain a project could receive a higher proportion of its costs from the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme. In the case of farm machinery and similar equipment, this ‘intervention rate’ is capped at 80% of the cost.

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.


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, we will base programme funding offers on the projected costs of an activity using three quotes from suppliers (with final payments made against evidenced costs).

Maintenance agreements  

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 (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 March 2025.  

More Information

To understand how Farming in Protected Landscapes might be able to help you, to discuss ideas or for support with an application please contact the team by email on or by calling Alex Dinsdale on 01502 674630 or Lynn Eldrett on 01394 445227.

Farming in Protected Landscapes Year Two Report

The programme is now in its third year, and this national summary report highlights some of the projects funded by the end of year two.

The report includes the voices of farmers and land managers who have accessed the programme, what they have achieved and their experiences of the process.