Year two of the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is well underway, providing over £357,000 in support for nature- and climate-friendly farming projects in Suffolk and Essex.
Farmers and land managers in the Dedham Vale and the Coast & Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) continue to benefit from funding available for projects including those which help to enhance the area’s iconic landscapes. Over half of the available funding has been committed so far this year on projects which benefit Climate, Nature, People and Place within these two AONBs.
The Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme was launched in Summer 2021 and will continue until March 2024, with a total of over £800,000 available over the period for these two AONBs.
Several exciting projects which will help to generate long-lasting benefits have been funded and include the establishment of 16 new small orchards, coastal reedbed improvements and ancient woodland restoration in the Coasts and Heaths, and improvement of wetlands, clearance of invasive shrubs, orchard improvements and farm carbon assessments in Dedham Vale.
The FiPL programme encourages farmers to work on projects together through collaborative groups, sharing information, expertise, and equipment. For some, this happens via farm clusters. The farm carbon project being carried out in Dedham Vale is of national importance and is being undertaken through the Stour Valley Farm Cluster.
Fiona Wells, Stour Valley Farm Cluster Facilitator, said: “Farmers and landowners are being asked to reduce their carbon footprint to net zero by 2040, and many are working in innovative ways towards this, but it is important for them to be able to understand and benchmark their carbon storage, potential and emissions data to start with.”
“This project will provide this information for these initial nine farms, and will provide bespoke, tailored advice to each farm business to help them improve on these findings and generate carbon improvements, which will also benefit their businesses, biodiversity, and the wider environment. Looking as a whole, the project will allow these farmers to share best practice as we work towards this ambitious net zero goal.”
The FiPL team are working with several farmers and land managers on a range of exciting projects, including some involving partnership working with organisations such as Suffolk Wildlife Trust, and community projects in both AONBs.
The programme is a competitive one, and the team are always keen to hear from farmers, land managers and others who have ideas for potential projects which funding might be able to support.
For anyone interested in applying, there is plenty of advice and support available to help with developing project applications to ensure that the climate, nature, people and place objectives of the programme bring real benefits to the environment and farm businesses in the Coast & Heaths and Dedham Vale AONBs.