Workshop to support AONB landscapes

Applications are being encouraged to the new Farming in Protected Landscapes grant programme, managed by a dedicated team at Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

By Janet Harrison
Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 2:56 pm

The three-year Defra-funded programme aims to support those who live and work in AONBs and National Parks across the UK.

And the AONB is hosting a free online workshop on Monday November 29 2021 at 6.30pm for anyone interested in finding out more about the grant programme and how to apply.

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

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Matthew Trevelyan, Nidderdale AONB’s Farming in Protected Landscapes Officer, said: “Since the grant programme launched in July 2021, we’ve been able to provide support for a huge variety of projects ranging from habitat restoration to farm business diversification.”

To be considered for a grant, projects must benefit climate, nature, people or place.

“One of the great things about this programme is that we are able to help fund projects that fall outside the scope of existing agri-environment schemes,” Matthew said.

The programme runs until March 2024.

Find out more at: www.nidderdaleaonb.org.uk or email: [email protected]

Anyone interested in applying to the programme is encouraged to get in touch with AONB team to discuss project ideas. The team are on hand to support applicants to develop their ideas and applications if necessary.

Matthew explained: “The best Farming in Protected Landscapes supported projects fulfil more than one of the outcomes.”

For example, a project might provide a way for people to enjoy the landscape more, by improving access, whilst also creating habitats that encourage biodiversity.

“We’re also keen to get project partners working together at a landscape level – after all wildlife doesn’t care much for where one farm stops and another starts,” Matthew said.

Recently approved projects include a group of dairy farmers who will monitor soil carbon levels and experiment with the new machinery to relieve compaction.

A number of projects involve boundary restoration; landowners will be restoring dry stone walls and planting, coppicing and laying over a mile of hedges.

A project that is currently being developed will see several neighbouring farms come together to engage in a Curlew survey, which will prepare the way for small changes that will hopefully enable these endangered birds to fledge successfully.

The team are also helping develop projects which will restore the historic structures that are a key asset in the landscape.

Matthew said: “At the simplest level, a historic structure can be a dry stone wall. We’re also keen to make sure other important features are cared for.

“This includes our industrial heritage, whether that might be an old mill pond or a limekiln, as well as farm buildings such as field barns.”

The funding programme is part of the government’s Agricultural Transition Plan.

Matthew added: “It’s great that farmers are so keen to use their land for the benefit of the climate and nature.

“These are the people who know their land the best and it’s no wonder that they are inspired to come up with some brilliant projects.”

The programme is open to all farmers and land managers, including from the private, public and charity sector, in the Nidderdale AONB, or where activity on the ground can bring benefit to the AONB.

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.