Team to aid way to funding

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 9:46 am

The new members at Nidderdale AONB are helping the sector to apply for the three-year Defra-funded programme Farming in Protected Landscapes, which aims to support those who manage land in AONBs and National Parks across the UK.

Matthew Trevelyan and Iain Murray are job-sharing the lead officer role, with support from part-time assistant officers, Alison Metcalfe and Christy Irish.

All of the new AONB team have a strong connection to protected landscapes, with a wealth of experience in working on farms, including upland sheep, dairy, beef, pig and arable enterprises.

Nidderdale. Picture Gary Longbottom

The scheme offers financial support for one-off projects that either support nature recovery, mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide better access or engagement with the land, or increases the business resilience of farms.

Lead officer Matthew Trevelyan has worked for more than ten years on the North York Moors, managing a family farm and an organic flour mill. He has also worked as a dry-stone waller in the Peak District.

Matthew said: “I feel a strong connection to the upland landscape.

“I grew up with the heather moorland on my doorstep, and the calls of peewits and curlews around me.

“I love the culture of the dales and want to promote a way of farming that is beneficial to nature.

“It’s important that we recognise that farmers are the guardians of this incredible landscape, by funding projects that benefit us all.”

He added: “But I also want to promote the high-quality food that farms in the AONB produce.”

Lead officer Iain Murray is based in the Harrogate area and has been working in the agricultural sector for many years as an independent farm advisor.

Iain said: “I am passionate about helping small and family farms survive, and ensuring that this fund helps those who really need it.

“We’re really open to hearing about innovative and imaginative ideas for projects that help the farmer as well as the natural world.

“After all, it’s the farmers who know this landscape the best of all.”

The funding is part of the government’s Agricultural Transition Plan after Brexit and the end of EU subsidies, and to address the climate crisis.

The programme is open to all farmers and landowners, including from the private, public and charity sector, in the Nidderdale AONB.

Other organisations and individuals are eligible too, as long as they are collaborating or supporting a farmer or land manager.

Assistant officer Alison Metcalfe was born into a Nidderdale farming family and brings a wealth of local knowledge to the team. In the days she is not working with the AONB, she works on the family farm.

Alison said: “I’ve grown up in the AONB and care very much for the farming community.

“Farmers and landowners have created this working landscape that we all enjoy so much, and I hope we can help them maintain an environment that is also a home to a rich diversity of wildlife and resilient to climate change.”

Christy Irish is also local to Nidderdale, and has recently started work on her own farm holding in the heart of the AONB.

Christy has been a member of the AONB’s land management team for some time, and is looking forward to also being involved with the new funding programme.

She said: “As a new entrant into farming, I know how difficult it can be to make a small farm turn a profit.

“It’s great to be involved in the delivery of a flexible programme that provides a unique opportunity to fund one-off projects.

“This is an excellent opportunity for landowners to get a head-start and be prepared for the Environmental Land Management schemes in 2024.”

The programme runs from July 2021 until March 2024. For the first year of funding, applications must be received no later than 31 January 2022 and works completed by 31 March 2022.

The AONB is encouraging anyone interested in the programme to get in touch to discuss project ideas before applying.

To find out more about eligibility and criteria, go to the Nidderdale AONB website, nidderdaleaonb.org.uk/farminginprotectedlandscapes. You can also email the team at [email protected]