Farming in Protected Landscapes

This is a Defra funding programme for farmers and land managers in England’s Protected Landscapes (AONBs & National Parks). 

The programme has been extended until March 2025.     

Please note, funds available for projects to be completed in Year 3 (2023/24) are limited and the application process is more competitive than previously. The Year 4 funding pot is much larger - projects need to be completed between April 2024 and March 2025.

If your proposed application to the Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme consists of only standard cost items which are available through the Countryside Stewardship Capital Grant Scheme or the Farming and Equipment and Technology Fund, it is less likely to score well, so please consider applying directly to them:

Scroll down to find out more about eligibility and the Farming in Protected Landscapes application process...

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

webinar recording about the programme 

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 all the Guidance – please read the Defra guidance, our local priorities document and checklist for applicants. We will discuss these with you, but it helps if you have read them first. 

Step 2: Submit Enquiry Form – we will contact you for an initial discussion.  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 and checklist for applicants when completing the form. 

Step 5: Submit Application – use the checklist 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: Guidance for Applicants to read (updated May 2023)

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

              Illustrations to support guidance (September 2022)

              Checklist for applicants (new addition, May 2022)

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

Step 4: Application Form to complete (updated May 2023)

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

             Annex A FiPL Project Costs Table to complete (updated May 2023) 


The next deadline for completed applications is 9th October 2023. 

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


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 are 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 next deadline for completed applications is 9th October 2023

The Local Assessment Panel meets every 6 to 8 weeks to review applications and award grants.  The next Panel meeting is 24th October 2023. The subsequent deadline is 20th November, in time for the Panel to be held on 6th December 2023.  

  • Applications over £10,000 are reviewed by the Local Assessment Panel. 
  • Applications for over £5,000, but less than £10,000 are reviewed by a senior member of the AONB Partnership team, but at the discretion of the FiPL team, may be referred for assessment by the Local Assessment Panel.
  • Applications for less than £5,000 are reviewed 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 provides investment towards specific items of equipment which will improve productivity and efficiency for farming, horticultural and forestry businesses:  
  2. Farming Transformation Fund provides grants towards large capital items to help businesses improve productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability. They are: