Defra has made a number of announcements this morning about the Farming in Protected Landscape scheme (FIPL) and have given their initial reaction to the Glover Review published in September 2019 (see here and here).
By Protected Landscapes, Defra mean National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). Defra have issued a press release (see here) which sets out the scope of the scheme. In essence this is a grant scheme to:-
‘to make improvements to the natural environment and improve public access on their land – the next step in the Government’s landmark plans for a renewed agriculture sector outside of the Common Agricultural Policy. The funding will go towards one-off projects to support nature recovery; improve public access; mitigate the impacts of climate change; provide opportunities for people to enjoy and understand the landscape; and support nature-friendly and sustainable farm businesses.’
This is a grant scheme to fund works and is not an income support scheme for farmers and land managers.
More details on the Scheme are set out in a Guidance note (see here). To be eligible to apply applicants need to meet the following criteria – interesting to note that common land is included.
Additionally, for Dartmoor, the National Park Authority have produced a page on their website which expands on the Defra information (see here).
The page includes examples of the types of project which could be funded.
I haven’t yet discovered what the England and Dartmoor budgets are for this scheme, but this information will be needed so that applicants match their project aspirations to the available grant monies.
Initial response to the Glover Review
This is based on a Parliamentary Statement made by Secretary of State George Eustice (see here). Much of the Statement builds on previous announcements regarding nature recovery, access and inclusions issues. There are a few sentences on the future governance of protected areas.
‘Each of our protected landscapes has its own identity, and many of their functions require local accountability. However, we are also considering how their structures might be changed so that we can bring the family of protected landscapes closer together, and ensure there is more strategic direction nationally, while retaining their local functions.’
These words seem to mirror the report from Tom Heap on Countryfile a couple of months ago, but we are going to have to wait until later in the year to receive the detailed proposals, which will then be consulted on.
It is good to see more information emerging but as with previous announcements the detail is partial and somewhat fragmented. The FIPL scheme is due to open in July 2021 so it will be useful to see the budgets for this sooner rather than later.