Farming in Protected Landscapes

This is a Defra funding programme from July 2021 to March 2024 aimed at farmers and land managers in England’s Protected Landscapes (AONBs and National Parks). 

The programme is for one-off farming projects that can demonstrate benefits to climate, nature, people and place. 

It is open to farmers and land managers (including from the private, public and charity sector) with land within the Shropshire Hills AONB, and the grants are for projects that: 

  • support nature recovery,  
  • tackle climate change,  
  • provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and cultural heritage,  
  • support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses.  

Applications are invited for funding in years two (2022/23) and three (2023/24). Multi-year awards are possible for longer projects. 

webinar recording about the programme, 13 April 2022 

We can support you with advice, help with the development of your project and guide you through the application process. See Programme Overview.

Click here to read summaries of the projects that have received a grant to date.

Please contact us before you make an applicationsee Application Process, 6 steps

The Application Process – 6 steps 

Step 1: Read the Guidance – please read the Defra guidance and our local priorities document. We will discuss these with you, but it helps if you have read it first. 

Step 2: Submit Enquiry Form – we will call you back for an initial conversation.  We may suggest your project suits another grant scheme better. 

Step 3: Site Visit - if appropriate, we will arrange a site visit – it is usually helpful, especially if you want to talk ideas through. 

Step 4: Application Form – if your project is a good fit for the scheme we will recommend that you make an application. Please ensure you refer to the guidance for applicants when completing the form. 

Step 5: Submit Application – use the check list to make sure you have everything you need to submit your application.  We will also check that you have submitted everything needed and may ask for further information.

Step 6: Decision – the Local Assessment Panel meets regularly so that successful projects can start as soon as possible. 


Application process - documents to download

Step 1: National Programme Guidance for Applicants to read (updated May 2022)

             Shropshire Hills local priorities & example projects to read (July 2021)

Step 2: Click here to complete a short Enquiry Form to start your application process

Step 4: Application Form to complete (updated May 2022)

              Short form to complete if you are not registered for VAT (new addition, May 2022)

             Applicant Costs Spreadsheet to complete (updated May 2022) 

Step 5: Check List for Applicants (new addition, May 2022)


To get in touch with our Farming in Protected Landscapes Advisor, Alison Jones, please email or telephone 01743 254745.

All projects must be completed by the end of March 2024 

Programme Overview

Click on the links below for an overview, but please read the Guidance for detailed information if you are considering making an application: 

Who can apply?

What will the programme pay for?

What are the payment rates?

Application assessment

What the programme doesn’t support

Other Funding Opportunities


Who can apply to us?

The programme is open to all farmers and land managers (including from the private, public and charity sector) with land within the Shropshire Hills AONB. 

view the AONB boundary

You must manage all the land included in the application, and have control of all the activities you’d like to undertake, or you must have written consent from all parties who have this management and control.  

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.  

Common land is eligible for support through the Programme. You can apply as a landowner with sole rights, or as a group of commoners acting together. 

Further detailed guidance on eligibility is contained within the guidance, see pages 3-6.


What will the programme pay for?

The Programme will pay for projects that provide value for money and meet at least one of the outcomes listed below, under four themes, listed below.  Projects must also help to deliver local conservation priorities in the Shropshire Hills. Funding is for one-off projects covering these areas of work, not an agri-environment scheme.


  • More carbon is stored and/or sequestered
  • Flood risk is reduced
  • Farmers, land managers and the public better understand what different habitats and land uses can store carbon and reduce carbon emissions
  • The landscape is more resilient to climate change


  • There is a greater area of habitat improved for biodiversity
  • There is an increase in biodiversity
  • There is greater connectivity between habitats
  • Existing habitat is better managed


  • There are more opportunities for people to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape
  • There are more opportunities for more diverse audiences to explore, enjoy and understand the landscape
  • There is greater public engagement in land management, such as through volunteering
  • Farmers and land managers feel increasingly comfortable with providing public goods


  • The quality and character of the landscape is reinforced or enhanced
  • Historic structures and features are conserved, enhanced or interpreted more effectively
  • There is an increase in farm business resilience


What are the payment rates?

If an applicant will not make a commercial gain through a project, they could receive up to 100% of the costs.  Where the project supports a clear commercial gain to you then you can be paid up to 40% of eligible costs, and if the project generates some commercial benefit to you but is primarily delivering public goods, then this will be paid up to 80% of eligible costs. 

The programme will work alongside – not in competition with – Defra’s existing and new schemes, adding value where it is most needed. If a potential project can be rewarded through those schemes instead, you will be made aware of them.

If an activity is equivalent to one under Countryside Stewardship (CS), the programme payment rate will be the same as the Stewardship rate - you can search for the CS grants available, the codes, the rates and the grant requirements at


Application Assessment?

Applications over £5,000 will be judged by a Local Assessment Panel.  You will be scored against the following categories:

  • Project outcomes (40%) - this includes deliver under the four themes of Climate, Nature,
    People and Place and also fit with our local Shropshire Hills priorities.
  • Value for Money (20%) – this includes demonstrating an efficient use of resources and
  • Sustainability / legacy of projects (20%) – this includes demonstrating that benefits could
    be maintained, and may include the likelihood of behaviour change and increased capacity, as well as more tangible measures.
  • Ability to deliver (20%) – demonstrating the capability to deliver in the timelines required.

The Panel meet roughly every 6 weeks. Deadlines for you to get your application to us by are: 

  • Monday 12th September 2022
  • Monday 24th October 2022
  • Monday 28th November 2022

Applications for less than £5,000 will be decided upon by a senior member of the AONB Partnership team (who has not been involved in the application or advice provided).  

You can submit your application as soon as it is ready.


What the programme doesn’t support

This list has been compiled following enquiries about the programme:

  • Work on domestic property
  • Solar panels 
  • Renewable energy (except where it is provided solely for the purpose of contributing to a wider Farming in Protected Landscapes project)
  • The purchase of farm animals and farm vehicles e.g. tractors, quad bikes
  • Purchase of second-hand machinery                                                                       
  • Electric vehicle charging points
  • Work in school grounds, churchyards or road verges
  • Work which is a statutory requirement


Other Funding Opportunities

The Countryside Stewardship (CS) - applicants can search for the CS grants available, the codes, the rates and the grant requirements

The Countryside Stewardship Capital Grant Scheme, now open for applications:

The Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier & Wildlife Offers section:

The Farming Investment Fund is divided into two types of fund:

  1. The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) provides investment towards specific items of equipment which will improve productivity and efficiency for farming, horticultural and forestry businesses (Round 1 has now closed, but Round 2 is expected and we will link to it when open):  
  2. Farming Transformation Fund provides grants towards large capital items to help businesses improve productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability. They are: