FARMERS in the Lake District National Park will be able to benefit from a new funding programme with more than £1 million available locally this year.

The three-year grants programme - Farming in Protected Landscapes – has been launched by Defra and will be managed locally by the Lake District National Park Authority. The funding aims to help farm businesses adapt for the future, become more resilient and prepare for Environmental Land Management.

The Authority wants to continue to work with farmers, landowners, communities and businesses to balance sustainable, productive, and profitable land management choices to address and adapt, and recover from the threats facing farming, nature, climate and communities.

The new programme will look at funding Lake District projects under one or more of these four headings:

Climate – includes projects that help address climate change like re-wiggling a straightened watercourse, for the biodiversity and natural flood management benefits this can bring, or assisting a farm to take actions to reduce carbon emissions. Nature – includes work that supports nature-friendly sustainable farms, allowing natural processes to develop across an area of land, or wetland creation to support a variety of wildlife. People – includes projects that provide opportunities for people to engage with the landscape. This could be working with new audiences to help them experience the Lake District, or being able to offer farm walks to help give people a greater insight into farming. Or it could be improving parking facilities, or replacing stiles with gates to make routes more accessible for locals and visitors. Place – includes work that supports cultural heritage, this could be conserving historic features on a farm or repairing dry stone walls. Or, supporting a locally-branded food initiative which promotes the links between the product and the landscape in which it is produced.

LDNPA's Farming Officer, Andrea Meanwell says:“Farmers and land managers living and working in the Lake District have a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges we face in our unique landscapes and communities. Our farmers are custodians of the National Park, and this funding will give them flexibility to decide how best to take advantage of the opportunities, address the challenges and continue to look after our special Lake District landscape.”

Applications for the first year of Programme funding should be made between now and January 31 2022, and grant funding decisions will be made on a monthly basis.

The Lake District is one of 44 different protected landscapes in England.