Farmers, commoners and landowners in the New Forest National Park are being encouraged to apply for funding to help them adapt for the future and make their businesses more resilient.
Farming in Protected Landscapes, a new national grant programme launched today, will also help farmers improve the natural environment, cultural heritage and public access on their land.
A total of £600,000 is expected to be available for projects in the New Forest National Park during the three-year programme.
The New Forest is a living, working landscape with a huge range of habitats and species, and is enjoyed by millions of people every year.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has developed the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme to help support the people who live and work in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
The programme will be managed locally by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) and will provide funding for one-off projects which allow farmers, commoners and landowners to:
support nature recovery – such as increasing habitats to improve biodiversity or greater connectivity between habitats
mitigate the impacts of climate change – such as reducing flood risk or storing more carbon
provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage
support nature-friendly and sustainable farm businesses.
Projects could include creating ponds or other wetlands to support a variety of wildlife; conserving historic features on a farm; or even action to reduce carbon emissions or use of plastics on farms.
Prof Gavin Parker, Chair of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The programme will target funding to farmers and land managers to deliver a range of significant benefits locally that align to national and global objectives. It presents a great opportunity for those funded to make a real difference to nature recovery, climate change, enjoyment of the National Park and their own business.’
A local assessment panel will allocate funding and will include representatives of the New Forest National Park Authority and Natural England as well as of the farming, commoning and land management communities and other relevant interests.
Farming in Protected Landscapes is part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan. It has been developed by Defra with the support of a group of national park and AONB staff from across the country.
The programme is open to all farmers, commoners and land managers (including from the private, public and charity sectors) in the New Forest National Park area, or where activity on the ground can bring benefit to the National Park.
Applications are now open and officers from the NPA and the New Forest Land Advice Service will be available to help with applications, including site visits to work up ideas and discuss potential projects.
See the NPA website for an application form and guidance www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/farming-in-protected-landscapes or contact the Farming in Protected Landscapes team on email firstname.lastname@example.org.