Funding boost for farmers in the South Downs National Park as new initiative to support sustainability projects is announced

FARMERS working on nature-friendly projects can apply for a new pot of funding as a sustainability initiative is announced.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 11:52 am

South Downs National Park is encouraging farmers and land managers in the park to apply for funding from the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced this new programme earlier this week as part of a drive to support farmers in England’s 44 protected landscapes.

The National Park’s farming team will be delivering the programming locally as it runs until March 2024.

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Nigel James, who heads the farming team at South Downs National Park Authority
Nigel James, who heads the farming team at South Downs National Park Authority

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Nigel James, countryside and policy manager leading the farming team at the National Park, said: ‘As we transition from the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy to a new agricultural support system, farming is going through a significant period of change.

‘To help farmers and land managers in protected landscapes during this time and, in recognition of the vital role they play in managing these areas, Defra has developed the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.’

Applications can be made for funding to carry out projects that support nature recovery, mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand landscape and cultural heritage, and support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses.

Sheep shearing in the National Park

Nigel said: ‘Farmers are the lifeblood of the South Downs National Park as around three quarters of this amazing landscape is farmland.

‘We have a range of small family-run farms and large farming estates and each one plays their part in making this a living, working landscape that produces incredible food and drink, as well as supporting wildlife and being enjoyed by millions of people every year.

‘We’re looking forward to working with farmers and land managers to help deliver this important programme and bring benefits to all.’

The programme is open to all farmers and land managers, including those from the private, public and charity sectors.

Nigel added: ‘It’s important to recognise that this is a programme of funding for one-off projects, not an agri-environment scheme and will work alongside – not in competition with – Defra’s existing and new schemes, adding value where it is most needed.’

Application forms will be made available on the National Park website or can be requested by emailing [email protected]

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