Farmers and landowners will be able to apply for funding to support projects that will restore nature, reduce flood risks and boost biodiversity, as the first round of applications for the Landscape Recovery scheme opens today.

The scheme is the third under the UK government’s future farming policy.

The Landscape Recovery scheme will support more “radical and ambitious land-use change and habitat restoration,” according to the government, such as establishing new nature reserves, restoring floodplains to help reduce the risks from flooding, or creating woodland and wetlands.

Projects could include restoring the natural courses and condition of rivers and streams, creating and improving woodlands or wetlands, or creating a mosaic of habitats for native species, and will support  the Prime Minister’s ambition to deliver at least 10 large scale areas devoted to landscape and ecosystem recovery by 2024.

Applications for this round of funding are open from February 1, 2022 and will close on May  24,2022.  

The application process will be competitive and Defra will assess applications against selection criteria focused on the projects’ potential impact, feasibility and costs and will confirm the chosen round one pilot projects in the summer.

Up to 15 projects will be taken forward within the total project development budget available of £7.5 million.

Landscape Recovery focus

Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said:

“The focus of our Landscape Recovery scheme will be to restore threatened species and priority habitats – helping to protect our natural environment for generations to come and boost biodiversity.

“While the types of projects we envisage won’t be right for every farm business or farm holding, they will be right for some which is why this scheme will support a choice that some landowners may want to take, and put in place the right incentives to allow them to do so.”

“Farming in England is moving away from the arbitrary land-based subsidies and top-down bureaucracy of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, towards schemes that recognise the work that farmers do as stewards of the natural environment alongside food production.

“Defra is working in partnership with farmers to design the new schemes and support the choices that they make for their own holdings.

“Landscape Recovery is one of three environmental land management schemes and taken together they are designed to provide farmers and landowners with a broad range of voluntary options from which they can choose the best for their business.

“The reforms are the biggest changes to farming and land management in 50 years with more than 3,000 farmers already testing the new schemes.