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Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL)

Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL)

NB: The delivery budget for the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme in the South Downs National Park has now been fully allocated for the year 2024/2025. 

As a result, we are therefore no longer accepting or registering any Expressions of Interest for funding of projects under this programme. 

We would however suggest that you consult Defra’s website which provides details of other grant schemes that may also be relevant to your enquiry.

England’s (44) protected landscapes, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), are special and unique places.

They are living, working landscapes that support a huge range of habitats and species, and are enjoyed by millions of people every year.

Over 75 per cent of the South Downs National Park is farmed, made up of a mosaic of farm types including small family-run farms and large farming estates.

The mixture of livestock and arable farming gives the South Downs a very special feel and has shaped the landscape we see today.

As we transition from the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to a new agricultural support system, farming is going through a significant period of change.

To help farmers and land managers in the country’s protected landscapes during this time and in recognition of the role they play in managing these areas, Defra has developed the Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme as part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan, which will run from July 2021 to March 2025.

  • What will the FiPL programme fund 

    Through the programme, farmers and land managers within protected landscapes can apply for funding to carry out projects that:

    • Climate outcomes: Mitigate the impacts of climate change
      • 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
      Nature outcomes: Support nature recovery
      • 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
      People outcomes: Provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and cultural heritage
      • 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
      Place outcomes: Support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses.
      • The quality and character of the landscape are reinforced or enhanced
      • Historic structures and features are conserved, enhanced or interpreted more effectively
      • There is an increase in farm business resilience
      Supporting the delivery of the South Downs National Park Partnership Management Plan

      Your project must also help to deliver at least one of the outcomes of the South Downs National Park Partnership Management Plan

      You can find details of the South Downs National Park Management Plan here

  • How long will FiPL run for?

    The programme will run from 2021 to 2025 with an open application window.

  • Who can apply?

    FiPL is open to all farmers and land managers (including from the private, public and charity sectors) where activity on the ground can bring benefit to the South Downs National Park in one or more of the programme objectives.

    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.

  • How will the programme be managed in the South Downs National Park?

    Within the South Downs National Park, FiPL will be delivered by the Authority’s Farming Team.

    A Local Assessment Panel, comprising predominately of farmers, meets every 6-8 weeks to decide on which projects should be supported. Decisions are based on national scoring criteria set by Defra and delivery towards the South Downs Partnership Management Plan.

  • How to apply

    Applications must be developed with the National Park’s Farming Team before being submitted. They can be contacted at the following email: FiPL@southdowns.gov.uk 

    The following documents will help you decide if your project aligns with the FiPL Programme and meets its and the Partnership Management Plan objectives:

    SDNPA Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) Guidance (PDF)
    SDNPA Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) Application Form (Will be provided by the Farming team when contacted to be developed in collaboration)
    SDNPA Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) Privacy Statement (PDF)
    South Downs Partnership Management Plan Priorities 2020 – 2025 (PDF)

  • What’s happened so far?

    See the projects funded previously since year 1 in the document below:

    Year 1 transparency & projects funded

    Year 2 transparency & projects funded

    Year 3 transparency & projects funded


"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."