A grants programme supporting farmers in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is to be extended by one year.
‘Farming in Protected Landscapes’ was due to end after three years in March 2024.
Today the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that owing to the success of the programme so far, it would provide additional funding until March 2025 (see page 41 of its Environmental Improvement Plan).
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority administers the programme in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. In the 18 months of its operation, the Authority has granted a total of £1.4 million through 104 agreements.
One of the outstanding projects to receive a Farming in Protected Landscapes grant is being run by the Orton Fells Farm Cluster Group in the Westmorland Dales part of the National Park.
The group has used a grant to develop a local nature recovery plan and run a host of engagement activities such as school visits to farms.
Jane Lane, the Chair of the Orton Fells Farm Cluster Group, said: “We are so grateful for the support which the Orton Fells Farm Cluster has received through the Farming in a Protected Landscape programme and we are delighted to hear that the funding programme has been extended.
“Our original goal was to work together to protect our community and environment. Getting a better understanding of our agricultural management practices has enabled us to focus on combining the best of modern and traditional farming practices to ensure we produce healthy food alongside creating a rich biodiverse network across our farmed landscape.
“The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme has also allowed us to welcome school pupils, students, other farmers and members of our communities onto our farms to discuss and learn how nature can thrive and flourish alongside farming and food production.”
Member Champion for the Natural Environment at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Mark Corner, said: “Being asked to administer the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme was an exciting new challenge for the Authority. It has given us a great opportunity to support farmers as they lead the response to the climate and nature emergencies.
“Defra’s announcement gives us another piece of good news to take into the farming meetings we are holding at five venues across the National Park in February. Farmers can use a Farming in Protected Landscapes grant to fund projects that will put them in a better position to earn money from the Environmental Land Management schemes that Defra is introducing.
“It’s our job to help local people to conserve and enhance the things that make the landscape of the Yorkshire Dales National Park so special. Having the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme for another year will help us to do just that.”
For more information on the Orton Fells Farm Cluster Group, see www.ortonfellsfarmcluster.co.uk or their social media posts using @FellsOrton and #ortonfellscluster