The Landscape Recovery scheme is the third component of the Environmental Land Management schemes.  It focuses on the most radical and ambitious large-scale land-use change and ecosystem recovery projects.

The application window for the first round of the Landscape Recovery scheme is now open until 24 May 2022.

This first round is to support projects to:

  • recover threatened native species, restore priority habitats, improve habitat quality, and increase species abundance (with such projects to be administered by Natural England)
  • restore streams and rivers, improve water quality and biodiversity, and adapt to climate change (with such projects to be administered by the Environment Agency)

as well as providing additional benefits, such as contributing to net zero.

Example projects that Defra suggest are:

  • building, expanding or linking nature reserves
  • creating and improving woodland
  • developing a mosaic of habitats
  • restoring the natural courses and condition of rivers, streams and floodplains
  • improving bogs, fens or saltmarshes.

A project must be on land in England that is a broadly connected area of 500 to 5,000 hectares. Projects can involve whole holdings or parts of them and can include land that is in other government schemes (but Defra would not pay for activities already being funded).

All land managers and landowners are eligible to apply, including farmers and farm tenants, foresters, collaborative groups, charities and non-farming businesses. Defra suggest that tenants and landowners will need to work together to develop bids.  Public bodies can also apply, but only in collaboration with private land managers (including landowners or tenants).  Applications can be made by agents or representative bodies, on behalf of and with the support of the landowners and tenants from the project area.

Up to 15 projects will be taken forward within the total project development budget available of £7.5m. Defra will assess applications according to how well they meet the first round selection criteria focused on potential impact, feasibility and costs and will confirm the chosen round one pilot projects in the summer. Those who receive one of the highest scores will:

  • receive funding for up to 2 years to help prepare to deliver the project
  • get help to secure private funding for long-term delivery
  • be invited to negotiate a Landscape Recovery implementation agreement with Defra.

Applications are via the eSourcing Portal (that can be accessed from Defra guidance linked below). Further detail is available in the guidance on the eSourcing portal on the selection criteria, scoring and agreements.  Defra are also hosting a Landscape Recovery webinar on 1 March at 4pm.