The government has announced new funding for farmers and landowners to protect and restore thousands of hectares of English countryside.
Building on the success of the first round of the scheme, participants will be able to bid for a share of £15million in development funding, with more investment to come over the next few years.
The scheme – Landscape Recovery – will allow landowners and farmers to collaborate and work together to protect and enhance landscapes in England, delivering large-scale environmental benefits and supporting the delivery of British produce.
The second round of the scheme will support up to 25 projects which will be administered by Natural England and the Environment Agency. Projects will be selected based on their environmental and social impact, value for money and suitability for the scheme. Additionally, a food production criteria has been introduced to ensure projects take this into consideration.
It will focus on projects of at least 500 hectares which could include landscape scale projects creating and enhancing woodland including temperate rainforest, peatland, nature reserves and protected sites, such as ancient woodlands, wetlands and salt marshes.
Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Food and Farming, said: “Landscape Recovery is one of our three Environmental Land Management schemes which provide the funding and support for farmers in England through the biggest change in a generation.
“The scheme is already supporting 22 inspiring landscape-scale projects across England with development funding and the second round will help more farmers and land managers take collective action through involvement in bespoke projects that will make a real difference in reaching net zero and supporting valuable habitats, while continuing to support sustainable food production.”
Funding for Landscape Recovery will be provided from the government’s £2.4 billion annual investment into the farming sector, which is guaranteed for the rest of this Parliament, with every penny of the reductions to farmers’ direct payments reinvested back into farming.
Chair of the Environment Agency, Alan Lovell, said: “I welcome the second round of the Landscape Recovery scheme, which is a key opportunity for farmers and land managers who want to focus more specifically on ambitious land-use change and habitat restoration.
“The round one projects – only launched in September 2022 – are already showing great promise, such as the River Axe project in Devon supported by the Environment Agency to improve the habitats and water quality of the Axe.
“This second round of Landscape Recovery will take us further down the track toward becoming a nation that is resilient to climate change and rich in ecological diversity.”
The Landscape Recovery programme is one of the government’s three new Environmental Land Management schemes, alongside the Sustainable Farming Incentive and Countryside Stewardship. An update and examples of projects taking part in the first round of Landscape Recovery can be found here.